Football Team Bonds as Spring Practices Approach


It’s early morning as a door to Siebens Fieldhouse closes due to the gust of the winter breeze, frosting over the glass and fogging up sight lines. The first of the Buena Vista University football players trickle into the building one-by-one. Throughout the day, a number of the team members enter the weight room to train.

The team has been working hard in the offseason for the past eight weeks, and it’s culminated in improvements for the Beavers. The players say they are proud that they’ve pushed through the wear and tear of a long training season, and feel that they have become better as team.

The squad’s level of success in recent years hasn’t reached the standards set, but the players seek to achieve greatness this coming fall.

The Beavers have had poor performances in previous seasons. Records of 1-9, 3-7, and 3-7 in the previous three years mean that the soon-to-be senior leaders of the squad have never experienced a winning season.

Juniors Cole Miller, Collin Demoreuille, Wesley Brennan, Zach Anderson and Charlie Flickinger, among other third-year teammates, have led the team through the hard work of a continuous grind, and all believe the program has grown substantially.

The team has only begun to chase what they say is their goal for next season:  “Win the IIAC Conference.”

“The goal creates an expectation that the team is trying to live up to, and the only way that we will be able to achieve that goal is to come together,” says Miller.

And they have.

The 12 rising seniors have led the team through a grueling offseason, in preparation for the start of spring practice in April.

In the weight room, each team member yells his encouragements over their blaring music ranging from rap to country. The grunts, groans, and eventual cheers when someone sets a personal record set the tone for the workouts done by individual members throughout each week. Every position group has highlighted the improvements the team has made both physically and mentally.

As a team we have had a lot of growth from the last season,” says Demoreuille. “We have a lot of guys coming out of their comfort zone and stepping into leader roles. It has been a collective team effort. It seems like every guy wants to see one another succeed.”

Demoueuille says this idea of being part of a team and being in it for the team has mattered the most.

“The biggest thing that has been improved is that we have got rid of the ‘me’ guys and added the ‘we’ guys,” he says.

Underclassmen and upperclassmen alike come to prove that they can be a successful student-athlete every day in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC). Juniors high five freshmen when they see them throughout their days. Sophomores call each other sophomores names out of both love and humor.

There’s been a connection created throughout the squad, and everyone can feel it.

“By working hard together, we have created a bond. We’ve held each other to a high standard of accountability, and it’s helped us grow as a team and as friends,” says Anderson.

As the snow melts and birds chirp again, the team grows even closer. The annual spring football practices will start back up this month. It will be the first taste of real football the team has had since last November, and the squad is itching for their chance to be competing again on their home field in J Leslie Rollins Stadium.

Brennan, a defensive lineman, can feel the momentum heading into to spring practices, and knows consistency will be key.

“We can’t have one good day and then one bad day,” he says. “We have to compete and practice at a high level day in and day out. We’re on the right track, but we just need to stay committed to the team standards.”

However, the team won’t stop working hard after spring ball ends, as there’s an entire summer for improvement.

“Obviously we will keep working on the physical aspect of football (conditioning, lifting, and speed) but we also will be working on the mental aspect. Learning alignment, assignment, and technique will be very important, so we can use the physical stuff we worked on,” says Flickinger.

As the sun falls over the horizon of Storm Lake, the light shimmering on the water, the view from the weight room is breathtaking. Each member of the squad will return to the room or the field on their own time proving their willingness to work hard, and training to become better than they were the previous day. The team won’t give up in their quest for the IIAC title.

Photo by Emily Kenny