Story by Mike Levy
Levy is a member of the NMU football team. He is expected to see time along the offensive line for the ‘Cats this season.
MARQUETTE, Mich. - The Northern Michigan University football team has been working hard this off season dating back to early January with early morning workouts. The Wildcats are looking to improve from its 2-8 record from last year. This summer the ‘Cats added United States Olympic Education Center (USOEC) weightlifting coach Andy Tysz to run its strength and condition program.
“The overall purposes of these summer workouts were to make the athletes better,” said Tysz. A combination of Olympic core lifts and speed training highlighted each workout. Players would have two sessions on some days, one in the morning and the other in the evening. “Everyone did very well, all made very good progress and that is shown by the records up in the weight room,” said Tysz.
Senior defensive lineman Scott Avery was really impressed with Tysz’s work ethic. “(Andy) Tysz is highly knowledgeable about training athletes and puts his knowledge into practical use,” said Avery.
Tysz’s goal was to address the qualities of speed, agility, power, balance and preventing injuries.
“The summer workouts this year were the most comprehensive in the last four years,” said Avery. “Myself and others who participated became better and more efficient athletes.”
NMU looks to begin its quest for a GLIAC title with the start of early camp Aug. 8. Offensively the Cats return seven starters led by senior running back Mark Bossuah. He enters his final season with over 2,300 career rushing yards.
Senior wide receiver Zach Nichols looks to lead the very talented receiving corps in his final campaign as he hauled in 45 catches last season.
Seniors Jack Rustman, Nick Owens and Jon Otto will lead the offensive line. Two other spots need to be filled along the line after losing Cody Hanson and Kris Krempien to graduation.
Carter Kopach and Ben Hempel will be contending for the starting quarterback position. Kopach threw over 1,000 yards as a freshmen last year. Hempel threw six touchdowns and is recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.
Defensively the ‘Cats will be led by preseason All-American Nathan Yelk at middle linebacker. Yelk who will be a senior led the team with 98 total tackles last year.
Senior Jacob Reimer will lead the defensive line as it returns Avery and Matt Forward. Forward who played as a true freshman last season tallied 15 total tackles. Senior Mike Hanschmann and Junior Daniel Catalano will also be in the mix up front. Catalano had 1.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries last year.
The secondary returns juniors Andrew Strobel and DJ Oke. Strobel was second on the team last year in total tackles with 67. Ricky Neaves has moved back to safety from outside linebacker and should make a big impact. Sophomores Marcus Tribble and Anthony Marietti also return with playing experience. Tribble had three pass breakups and Marietti had a key interception last year near the end of the Findlay game to seal a victory for the ‘Cats.
The kicking game will feature senior Jon Laue handling the kickoffs and field goals. Sophomore Garrett Peck returns with high expectations at the punting spot after handling it as a true freshman last year. Junior Anthony Leandri and transfer Rockne Belmonte will also contribute to the kicking game.
The ‘Cats open up the 2009 season on the road against the Timberwolves of Northwood, Sept. 5 at noon. Tiffin calls on the Superior Dome the following week (Sept. 12) for NMU’s home opener at 4 p.m. A new playing surface which was installed over the summer will be rolled out for its first NMU game.
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