Norse drop opener to St. Olaf
Saturday’s football game versus St. Olaf College was a testament to how strong Luther’s team is this year. It was a close match throughout, with St. Olaf pulling slightly ahead in the last half to beat out Luther 28-23.
“The home opener is always a huge day,” Head Coach Mike Durnin said. “At this point the men are tired of practicing against their own teammates every day. The game gives amazing feedback, and shows where we are at this point.”
After a long summer of an intensive running and lifting program, the team returned to campus on August 11 for pre-season training camp. For almost a month, they have been practicing and scrimmaging against only themselves. Camp gives the men some extra time to try different schemes and concepts that the first year players have not been introduced to yet. Senior leader Obi Ukabiala ‘13 stressed the importance of team unity during training camp.
“During camp the older players were able to share their experience and knowledge, and the younger guys picked it up fast,” Ukabiala said. “It went very well, and I think we are all very optimistic about this season.”
Not only did training camp give the team time to practice skills needed for the game against St. Olaf, but it provided an opportunity for the younger players to get to know the upperclassmen.
“Luther football has really good team chemistry,” Kody Moore ‘14 said. “This is something we are looking to continue, and we can begin that process with the younger guys at camp.”
Having a strong and passionate upperclassman group has always been a huge part of the Luther football team. This year especially, the senior class will be a huge influence on the team’s success.
“This year we will have weekly captains as opposed to having the same captains for an entire season,” Durnin said. “They have realized that there are more than just a few guys who are amazing and capable leaders. This is a huge credit to their mindset and the quality of people that we have in the football program right now.”
The weekly captain decision was ultimately left up to the players, and they all agreed that it would be a positive change from the traditional captain set-up.
“The fact is that there are no clear four or five guys that could be captains,” Ukabiala said. “The upper classmen have come together and have taken the program in the direction that we want it to go. We have so many guys on the team that can lead and that want what is best for the program.”
Despite a slight beat out by St. Olaf at the opening game, Luther College football expects to pull through this year.
“The team has worked hard to create an atmosphere in which they are passionate about the process to be the best they can possibly be,” Durnin said. “They are working very hard to take care of the things they can take care of, and they know that if they do this well, big results can happen.”