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2003 Concordia-Moorhead Football Preview

Concordia Football Home Page for 2003
See Also: 2002 Season Stats | 2002 Box Scores

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College Information
School: Concordia-Moorhead
Founded : 1891
Location: Moorhead, MN
Enrollment : 2850
President : Dr. Paul Dovre - Interim
Athletic Director: Bob Nick - Interim
Team Nickname:  Cobbers
Colors: Maroon and Gold
Logo: The Chicago "C"
Faculty Athletic Rep: Jim Forde
Stadium: Jake Christiansen 7,000
Press Box Phone:  218-299-4465

Click on Link for Ticket Information

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Concordia Football History
First year of football: 1920
All-time bowl / play-off record: 8-5-2
Years in post-season play: 8
Last postseason appearance/result: 1997/Loss to Augsburg 34-22
All-time football record: 426-243-39
 

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Football Staff
Terry Horan
Concordia '89
Has compiled an 11-6 record in his first two seasons at the helm of the Cobbers. He was named MIAC Coach of the year in 2002. 

Head Coach: Terry Horan
Alma Mater/Year of Graduation: Concordia, 1989
Starting 3rd Season
Record/current school: 12-8
All-Time Record/Yrs:  12-8
MIAC Record: 11-6
Coach phone: 218-299-3499
Best time to call: 1:00-2:30

Assistants/Position:
Bob Nick  :  Concordia, '65, 37th yr, Offensive Coordinator,
Doug Perry :  Concordia, '65, 21st yr, Offensive Backs
Dave Klug :   Concordia, '80, 16th yr, Co-Defensive Coordinator
Bob Kohler :  Valley City, '69, 16th yr, Defensive Backs
Dan Kostich : Moorhead St., '73, 8th yr Offensive Line
Dale Hertel :  Concordia, '71, 7th yr, Offensive Backs
Scott Lucier : Concordia, '91, 5th yr, Co-Defensive Coordinator, Defensive Backs
Gary Haugo : Concordia '94, 2nd yr, Defensive Line
 

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Sports Information
S.I.D: Jim Cella
Office Ph.:  218-299-3194
Home Ph: 218-233-3698
Fax: 218-299-4189
E-Mail Address: cella@cord.edu
WWW Address: www.gocobbers.com
 

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2002 MIAC Standings
(Click here for complete game-by-game results)

School  MIAC   Season
St. John's  8-0    12-2*#
Concordia   7-1    7-3
St. Thomas  5-3    5-5
Bethel      5-3    5-5
Gustavus    5-3    6-4
St. Olaf    3-5    5-5
Hamline     2-6    3-7
Augsburg    1-7    2-8
Carleton    0-8    0-10
* 2002 MIAC Champion
# NCAA Playoff Participant

2002 Game-by-Game Results
(Click here for links to box scores)
 
Date Opponent Site  Time/Result
Sept. 7 MSU-Moorhead (Power Bowl) Away L 17-41
Sept. 14 Gustavus (Family Weekend) Home W 20-14
Sept. 21 Bethel College Away W 35-14
Sept. 28 Carleton College Home W 51-7
Oct. 5 Hamline University Away W 40-7
Oct. 12 Augsburg (Homecoming) Home W 38-13
Oct. 19 UW-Stout Away L 21-27
Oct. 26 St. John's University Home L 9-34
Nov. 2 St. Olaf College Away W 24-14
Nov. 8 St. Thomas University @ Metrodome Away W 63-21

2002 Final Record: Overall 7-3, MIAC 7-1 - 2nd Place

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2003 Schedule
(Players arrive Aug. 13, First Practice Aug. 14, Press Day Aug. 18)
 
Date Opponent Site  Time/Result
Sept. 6 MSU-Moorhead (Power Bowl) Home 1:30pm
Sept. 13 Gustavus Away 1:00pm
Sept. 20 Bethel College (Family Weekend) Home 1:00pm
Sept. 27 Carleton College Away 1:00pm
Oct. 4 Hamline University (Homecoming) Home 1:00pm
Oct. 11 Augsburg College Away 1:00pm
Oct. 25 St. John's University Away 1:00pm
Nov. 1 St. Olaf College Home 1:00pm
Nov. 8 St. Thomas University Away 1:00pm
Nov. 15 Menlo College (CA) Away 1:00pm

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Concordia Series Records Against Opponents:
Opponent      W   L   T  Series Started
MSU-Moorhead 45  23  12  1920
Gustavus     30  40   2  1923
Bethel       19   6   0  1978
Carleton     16   5   0  1921
Hamline      45  13   0  1936
Augsburg     46  12   2  1926
St. John's   26  35   7  1923
St. Olaf     30  21   2  1921
St. Thomas   33  27   0  1931
Menlo (CA)    0   0   0  2003

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Player & Team Information
2002 Overall Record: 7-3
2002 MIAC Conference Record/Place:  7-1/2nd Place
Starters Returning/Lost: Offense: 8/3 Defense: 5/6  Punt-PK:/ 4/1
Offensive Formation: Double Slot
Defensive Formation: 4-3
 

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Returning Starters
Offense
Name                  Yr Pos Ht   Wt  Hometown
Jeremy Hinderks       Sr  FB 6-2  235 Renville MN
Mitch Maxwell         Sr  OG 6-0  265 Marshall MN
Nicholas Didier       Jr  OT 6-3  250 Helena MT
Ryan Johnson          So  OT 6-3  255 St. Cloud MN
Ryan Hebrink          Sr  QB 6-3  205 Sacred Heart MN
Robert Clark          Sr  RB 5-9  190 Seeley Lake MT
Travis Christensen    Jr  RB 5-11 215 Battle Lake MN
Shawn Reile           Jr  WR 6-1  175 Moorhead MN

Defense
Name                  Yr Pos Ht   Wt  Hometown
Josh Vickerman        Sr  CB 6-0  180 Alexandria MN
Jordan Talge          Jr  CB 5-11 180 Moorhead MN
Andrew Campbell       Sr  DT 6-4  255 Great Falls MT
Evan Emmerich         Jr  DT 6-2  255 Princeton MN
Doug Runke            Jr  LB 6-2  215 Willmar MN
Josh Dietz            Jr  LB 6-1  215 Glencoe MN

Special Teams
Name                  Yr Pos    Ht   Wt  Hometown
Jordan Talge          Jr  H     5-11 180 Moorhead MN
Jeff Jungers          So  KO    5-11 175 Richfield MN
Robert Clark          Sr  KR/PR 5-9  190 Seeley Lake MT
Brian Halverson       So  PK    6-1  170 Fargo ND
 

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Key Losses (Grad/Transfer/Injury/Misc.)
Offense
Pos Name
C   Dustin Little
OG  John Holt (2002 All-MIAC)
WR  Jake Olson

Defense
Pos  Name
SS/P Scott Belseth
LB   Derek Fischer
DE   Brian Westby (2002 All-MIAC)
DE   Barry Bennett (2-Time All-MIAC)
FS   Shane Satterlee
NG   Derek Flann  (2-Time All-MIAC, 2002 MIAC Most Outstanding Lineman, All-Region 2002)
 

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2003 Season Outlook and Notes:
Concordia head coach Terry Horan is hoping that the third time is the charm. Horan is entering his third season as coach for the Cobbers and only has one place to go if he wants to continue the upward mobility that he has given Concordia in his first two campaigns. Horan started his tenure at Concordia by finishing in 6th place in the MIAC, with a respectable 5-5 overall record. Last season he guided the Cobbers to a 7-1 MIAC record which placed them only one game behind champion St. John's and two games ahead of third place St. Thomas. For the team's accomplishments he was named the MIAC Coach of the Year. Now that he has sown the seeds of three very good recruiting classes, he hopes to reap the rewards on his way to a MIAC championship and a trip to the NCAA playoffs. It has been eight years since Concordia last won the MIAC title and Horan has his sights set squarely on the school's 18th MIAC crown.

Along with the high expectations also comes the added burden of being one of the favorites to win the conference championship. "We're going to have a bull's eye on our backs," lamented Horan. "Last year we caught people off-guard. We really surprised alot of people and it's not going to be like that this year. This year is going to be completely different."

Despite the added pressure that Horan and the Cobbers will feel this season, they know that the road to reestablishing themselves as one of the premiere football programs in the region is right on schedule. The team will boast a total roster of 140 players and will have the luxury of having close to 70 new players in camp. He summed up the past three years of recruiting by stating, "we wanted to work hard in our recruiting process and bring in kids who we are going to feel comfortable with. We've had three great years of recruiting and we should start seeing the payoff." He also added that his goal for the future is "to eventually get where we are dominated by juniors and seniors in the starting lineup...we're close to that but we're not there yet and we're going to get there."

Success for the Cobbers should not only be found in numbers at the team level but also on an individual basis. For the first time in his career as coach of the Cobbers, Horan will have a pair of players who have legitimate chances to become postseason All-Americans. Senior quarterback Ryan Hebrink (Sacred Heart, Minn./R-C-W HS) is a two-time All-Conference performer and has a chance to become one of the greatest signal callers in school history. Fellow senior Josh Vickerman (Alexandria, Minn./Jefferson HS) will be the anchor of the defense from his cornerback position and will help bring along a defensive unit that is mostly inexperienced. Vickerman was a first-team All-Conference player last year and led Concordia in interceptions, pass break-ups and fumbles recovered. He was second in the league in  interceptions.

A breakdown of the offensive and defensive sides of the ball reveals that Concordia will have a reversal of fortune from last season. In 2002, the Cobbers had a solid returning defensive corps and were relatively inexperienced on offense. In 2003, the Concordia offense will be the veteran group and will carry the team in the early part of the schedule until the defense can find continuity and the right mix of players.

Hebrink's command of the offense will help Concordia even the mix of running and passing plays this season. Last year the Cobbers relied more on the run and eventually added a potent aerial attack at the end of the year. This year the Cobbers will be able to come out of the blocks with a balanced offense that will keep the opponent's defenses from stacking the line in order to stop the run. The emergence of Bobby Clark (Sr., Seeley Lake, Mont./Seeley Swan HS) as a dangerous running threat in the backfield will give Concordia a tremendous 1-2 punch when they have the ball.

On defense, look for Concordia to be dominated by a pair of linebackers and a solid secondary. Last season Concordia led the MIAC in total defense, allowing a mere 255.9 yards of total offense per game during the MIAC season. The highlight of their airtight defensive squad was their outstanding ability to stop the run. The Cobbers held opponents to only 77.0 yards per game on the ground. League-leading St. John's was second in that category - allowing almost 30 yards more per game.

Horan will have to find two completely new defensive linemen to fill the gap due to graduation but will have an outstanding tandem of run-stopping linebackers to help ease the process. Middle linebacker Doug Runke (Willmar, Minn./Willmar HS) had a breakout year last season as a sophomore. He finished fourth on the team in tackles and played in all 10 games. His linebacking cohort, Josh Dietz (Jr., Glencoe, Minn./Glencoe-Silver Lake HS) had an even better year than Runke. Dietz led the team in tackles and was named to the MIAC All-Conference First Team. Not only does he have a great ability to stop the run but has shown great skill in dropping into pass coverage. Dietz was second on the team in  interceptions last year.

In the secondary, Horan will have the experienced Vickerman to captain the defense and shut down the opposing team's main passing threat. He will be joined by fellow co-captain Jordan Talge (Jr., Moorhead, Minn./Moorhead HS). Talge, a converted quarterback, started every game last season and was third on the team in interceptions in 2002.

If the defense can gel together in a short amount of playing time then Horan will have the Cobbers in the thick of a title race all the way until the end of the season. The biggest date for Concordia is a showdown with 2002 champion St. John's in Collegeville, Minnesota on October 25th. "The title goes through St. John's," stated Horan. "They are the defending champions and Sports Illustrated ranked them number one in their (NCAA Division III) preseason poll."

Other highlights for the Cobbers will be the opening game on September 6th against cross-town rival MSU-Moorhead in the annual Power Bowl showdown. The Dragons and Cobbers have split the two previous games and Concordia has an overall edge in the series 45-23-12. After that opening non-conference game, Concordia will have two key early MIAC matchups. Concordia will play at Gustavus on September 13th and then return home to play Bethel on September 20th. Both teams should be in the battle for the top spots in the conference. The biggest addition to the schedule will be a west coast trip to play Menlo College (CA) on November 15th to finish out the regular season. If the schedule goes according to Horan's plan, that game will be a celebration of the Cobbers' first title since 1995 and a tune-up before their ninth trip to the NCAA playoffs.
 

A Closer Look:
The Defense:
The Cobber defense is hoping to return to their form in 2002 when they led the league in total defense, rushing yards allowed and total takeaways. 

Last year the Cobbers led the league in total defense, allowing just 255.9 yards per game. They allowed a paltry 77.0 yards on the ground and held the opposition to a mere 15.0 points per game. These numbers will be a lofty benchmark for the 2003 Cobbers to achieve. They only return five starters on defense and have to fill three of the four defensive line starting positions. If the team is to continue the success of last season, finding the right mixture of linemen and role players will be the key. The Cobbers also did a great job of causing turnovers in 2002. The team led the MIAC in takeaways and sacks. They recorded a turnover in seven of their ten games and were a league-leading +1.38 in turnover margin. The one area that Concordia will have to improve on is defending inside their own 20-yard line. The Cobbers ranked seventh in the league in "red zone" defense. The Cobbers allowed the opposition to score touchdowns 13 of the 17 times they had the ball inside the Cobber 20. Concordia was also the only team in the league that did not force a turnover in the "red zone" all season long.

Defensive Line:
This will be the main cause for concern for Horan and defensive co-coordinators Dave Klug and Scott Lucier. The Cobbers lost All-Conference, and Aztec Bowl participant, Derek Flann to graduation and will have to find an anchor in the middle to fill his absence. The front-runners to lead the interior line are Evan Emmerich (Jr., Princeton, Minn./Princeton HS) and Andrew Campbell (Sr., Great Falls, Mont./Great Falls HS). Emmerich has been an "on again-off again" starter the past two seasons. He played in all 10 games last season and recorded a career-high 20 tackles. Campbell is the only true returning starter on the line. Last season Campbell played next to Flann inside and recorded a career-high 19 tackles. Finding the right combination of ends to compliment Emmerich and Campbell will be key in unlocking the defensive treasure chest. Adam Campbell (Jr., Willmar, Minn./Willmar HS), Brody Clarke (So., Buffalo, Minn./Buffalo HS), Todd Hann (Sr., Crookston, Minn./Crookston HS) and John Odermann (So., Belfield, N.Dak./Belfield-Trinity HS) will all get a chance for significant playing time at the end positions. Adam Campbell is the frontrunner on one side of the line while the other three will battle for the other end spot. Hann will be used as a converted linebacker/end experiment in the attempt to add speed to the outside pass rushing scheme. Hann has the most experience of the three, having played in nine of the team's ten games last year.

Linebackers:
The linebacking trio will be an asset for the Cobber defense in 2003 - it might have been the focal point. The Cobbers were looking at returning all three starting linebackers from 2002 until Derek Fischer was forced to give up the season due to a shoulder injury that plagued him last season. Despite the departure of Fischer, Concordia will have a strong tandem to help usher in the inexperienced third member as season begins. Outside linebacker Josh Dietz will be back to terrorize opposing quarterbacks and running backs. Dietz was a First-Team All-MIAC selection in 2002, led the team in tackles and was second in interceptions. He had 76 total tackles in 2002 which include eight behind the line of scrimmage and three sacks. Joining Dietz will be middle linebacker standout Doug Runke. Runke was fourth on the team in tackles and has played in 18 games in the past two seasons. A trio of players will have the opportunity to win the other outside linebacker position. Those players include senior Kade Birkeland (Fort Benton, Mont./Fort Benton HS) and sophomores Ross Hebrink (Sacred Heart, Minn./R-C-W HS) and Matt Kleber (Moorhead, Minn./Moorhead HS). Birkeland is the only player among the three who has extended playing experience. Last year he played in seven games and recorded nine tackles.

Cornerbacks and Safeties:
Jordan Talge #9 (Jr., Moorhead, Minn.) is a team co-captain and will be the starting weakside cornerback for the 2003 season. 

Like the linebackers, the secondary will feature a pair of returning starters. Fifth-year senior Josh Vickerman will be the anchor of the whole defense and will give Horan another coach on the field. After sitting out two years ago due to a knee-injury, Vickerman will return for his last season bigger, faster and more assured of himself than any other time in his career. His ability to "blanket" an opposing team's top receiver will allow Horan to run different blitz packages and take some of the pressure off the inexperienced corners. Vickerman was a First-Team All-MIAC selection in 2002 and was second in the league in interceptions with six. He is tied for the school record in career interceptions with 11. Vickerman's cornermate will be Jordan Talge. Talge has a year of corner experience under his belt and will be called on to stop a majority of the passing attempts as teams will throw away from Vickerman's side of the field. Last year Talge finished third on the team in interceptions, second in pass break-ups and tenth in tackles. The top players to fill the safety positions are Eric Preszler (Jr., Worthington, Minn./Worthington HS) and Tanner Radermacher (So., Bellingham, MN/Ortonville HS). Preszler saw action in five games in 2002 while Radermacher played in three contests. Joining the two will be Eric Svobodny (So., Alexandria, MN/Jefferson HS) who impressed the coaching staff in the last part of last season.

The Offense:
The key word for the Cobber offense in 2003 will be "balance". The Cobbers will be looking to offset their traditionally strong running game with an up-and-coming passing attack. Last year the Cobbers led the league in running offense - averaging just under 240 yards per game. That is in direct contrast to the passing offense where Concordia was eighth in total passing yards. The Cobbers managed a scant 141 yards per game through the air in 2002. Most of the passing statistical inequality can be traced to a slow start from quarterback Ryan Hebrink. Last season Hebrink was coming off an offseason where he was rehabilitating an injured throwing shoulder. At the end of the 2002 campaign, Hebrink threw for 238 yards against St. Thomas. He has gone through a whole season injury-free and will be given more autonomy to run the Cobber offense from the field. This leadership capability will help keep opposing defenses from keying on the Cobber ground game. Another weapon who has benefited from a stellar 2002 season is running back Bobby Clark. Clark led the Cobbers in yards per game and his 5.1 yards per carry average hints at his breakaway capabilities. He will give Concordia a very potent 1-2 attack on offense.

Offensive Line:
Unlike last season, Hebrink will have an experienced crew in front of him to provide protection during the pass and open up holes for Clark on the ground. The only question mark up front will be at the center position. The guard and tackle spots will be filled by returning players who have all had at least one year of seasoning. Guards Mitch Maxwell (Sr., Marshall, Minn/Marshall HS) and Lance Mumm (Sr., Danvers, Minn./Benson HS) and tackles Nick Didier (Jr., Helena, Mont./Capital HS) and Ryan Johnson (So., St. Cloud, Minn./Apollo HS) provide foot speed and blocking technique over sheer size - and give Concordia a mobile front four who can open holes well past the line of scrimmage. The center race should come down to three players. Wade Thompson (Sr., Pelican Rapids, Minn./Pelican Rapids HS) holds a slight advantage having started at center during the 2001 season. Thompson took last season off and should return to give the Cobbers an experienced snapper. The other two players who will push Thompson for the lone starting line position are Jason Kelly (Jr., Fargo, N.Dak/Fargo Shanley HS) and David Uselman (So., Wadena, Minn./Wadena-Deer Creek HS).

Running Backs:
Bobby Clark #6 (Sr., Seeley Lake, Mont.) needs 709 yards to become the third player in school history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a career. 

The "slash and smash" tandem of Bobby Clark and Jeremy Hinderks (Sr., Renville, Minn./R-C-W HS) return for one more season. The two predominant backs in Concordia's double slot offense will continue to give Concordia a solid ground game. Clark was a first-team, all-conference selection last year and had his best year on the ground - rushing for over 700 yards. He has accumulated 1, 291 yards in his first three season in maroon and gold, and has a chance to become only the third player in school history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a career (the school record is held by Mike Jousma who rushed for 2,393 yards from 1990-93). Clark also averages 5.3 yards per carry in his career, second on the school's all-time rushing list. Leading the way for Clark and giving the Cobbers a short-yardage threat is two-year starter Jeremy Hinderks. Hinderks rushed for five touchdowns and over 330 yards last season. He averaged just under 40 yards per game during the 2002 season and punishes the opposing team's defense every time he handles the ball. Adding depth at the two back spots will be Travis Christensen (Jr., Battle Lake, Minn./Battle Lake HS) and Ed Oehlers (North Branch, Minn./North Branch HS).

Quarterbacks:
All-American candidate Ryan Hebrink is poised to have one of those years that people remember for a very long time. He is healthy and is coming off a summer where he was able to train for the upcoming season. He also has a full two years experience of understanding the offensive scheme that Horan is trying to put in place. All these elements will go into Hebrink being allowed more freedom to call his own plays and make adjustments at the line of scrimmage. This will prevent an opposing team's defense from lining up eight and nine players in the "box" to shut down the vaunted Cobber running attack. It will also give Concordia a more balanced attack and add a more dangerous threat to go deep at any opportunity. Hebrink is a two-time all-conference selection and was last year's league MVP runner-up. He was fifth in the MIAC in total offense last year and led the Cobbers in total rushing yards. He has the ability to beat the defense on the run and through the air. Entering his final season, he has 4,124 total offensive yards. He needs 1,465 yards to break the school's total offensive yardage record of 5,589 yards held by Kyle Odermann ('92-'95). The two players who will vie for the back-up spot are sophomores Jake Oderman (So., Belfield, N.Dak./Belfield Trinity HS) and Brian Schumacher (Thompson, N.Dak./Thompson HS). Both players saw limited action last year and if all goes according to plan, should see the same this season. The pair are the likely candidates to fill Hebrink's position for the 2004 season.

Wide Receivers:
Shawn Reile #81 (Jr., Moorhead, Minn) will be Ryan Hebrink's number one target during the 2003 cam,paign. He led the Cobbers in receptions in 2002. 

The wide receiver position will be the biggest question mark on the offensive side of the field. The main threat for Concordia will be Shawn Reile (Jr., Moorhead, Minn./Moorhead HS). Reile had a breakthrough year in 2002 when he led the team in receiving yards and receptions. An injury to his hand will hamper Reile at the beginning of the season but his athletic ability and his ability to make acrobatic catches will give defenses fits for the entire year. Finding a partner to go along with Reile will be the biggest problem for Horan. Andrew Passanante (Sr., Hawley, Minn./Hawley HS) is the leading candidate to fill the position. Passanante, a converted quarterback, was injured for part of last season but showed promise in his limited action. He caught two touchdowns in 2002 and carted a 13.5 yards-per-catch average. Joining Reile and Passanante in passing situations will be either Chad Worthington (Sr., Bozeman, Mont./Belgrade HS) or Adam Dittberner (Jr., Willmar, Minn./Willmar HS). Worthington spent most of his first three seasons as a member of the defensive secondary but returns to his natural position of wide receiver to give the Cobbers depth and game experience.

Special Teams:
Once a source of fear and loathing, the Cobber kicking game could be another cog in the championship machine in 2003. Sophomore Brian Halverson (Fargo, N.Dak./Fargo North HS) is the incumbent kicker after having proven himself in 2002. Halverson solidified the Cobber kicking game by converting on 37-of-42 extra points and 5-of-9 field goals. He was a perfect 4-for-4 on field goals from 20 to 29 yards out. This year he will be challenged by transfer Luke Draxten (Fergus Falls, Minn./Fergus Falls HS). Draxten was a highly-recruited kicker out of Fergus Falls High School in 2000 who went on to play at North Dakota State University. In 2002, he was an outstanding performer for Fergus Falls Community College. His consistency and leg strength should help bolster an ever-improving aspect of the Cobber game. The third member of the Cobber kicking corps is Jeff Jungers (So., Richfield, Minn./Richfield HS) who was used as the primary kickoff specialist in 2002. The punting duties will come down to a duel between Draxten and Brody Clarke. Clarke saw limited action in 2002 but had a very respectable 38.5 yards per punt average.

Concordia will once again feature one of the most dangerous return men in the region. Bobby Clark was an all-conference selection as a special teams player in 2001. He backed up his explosive 2001 season with another solid year last season. He was third in the league in punt return average (13.3) and fourth in kick return average (22.1).
 
 

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2003 Preseason Roster:

Roster will be published after Aug. 25