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Football Camp: The Knights Files

September 4, 2013 at 8:57 pm
By By Jordan Osterman, Northfield News

Link to Northfield News article

A fog hangs over the Carleton College practice football field on Wednesday morning. Construction crews can be heard hammering away a half block south on Division Street. A four-man crew of painters works their way from left to right on the steps and seats of Laird Stadium, transforming them from brown to gray.

Inside the stadium a different kind of building is taking place. Carleton’s football program is in its 11th day of preseason camp, an ongoing project of preparation for Sept. 7’s season-opening game against Grinnell College.

Unlike the stairs outside there will be definitive moment of completion. A program’s success is less easily defined, but the days of camp represent the opportunity to build on elements of past seasons while preparing for the new one.

“My goals here are truly long term,” said coach Bob Pagel, who is entering his eighth year with the Knights. “We have to build a foundation and start to build an identity.”

Build. Build. The word buzzes all around the Knights camp, including in the heart of the mantra the team adopted last year: “Prepare, Build, Believe.”

That same mentality is echoed in morning meetings as players and coaches prepare to take on the day. Three signs in the Knights’ main meeting room bear the saying, and Pagel underscores the message of building together.

“You’ve got to help your teammates. Got to help your teammates,” Pagel said. “In the end we’re all Knights.”

Especially in the demanding heat of a late August day, the kind and range of Knights supporting one another is immense. On Sept.7 the players and coaches will take center stage, but their roles in camp are far from the only ones that build the team up. More than 100 people can be credited with a contributing title during preseason camp. What follows is an account of 11 of them: The Knights Files.

Name: Nick Herringer
Otherwise known as:
“The major switcher”
Experience:
Fourth camp at Carleton
Can be found:
Studying the differences between defensive back (his regular position) and safety (his adopted position), and implementing the changes.
Thoughts on this camp versus past three:
“It’s a lot hotter this time. There have been some shorter practices, but a lot more intense.”
Keys to making it through camp:
“Stay hydrated. Stay focused and don’t worry about the heat. Support your teammates and take their support when they’re giving it to you. And have fun.”
Favorite thing at camp:
“The chocolate milk after practice. But seriously, I like doing all the team stuff. And I’ve enjoyed learning all the safety [position] stuff.”

Name: John Kunelius
Otherwise known as:
“Defensive back driller”
Experience:
First camp at Carleton
Can be found:
Drilling defensive backs on assignments in the meeting rooms and on the field.
On where the defense stands:
“Right now we have a good scheme and strategy in place. [Coach Bob] Pagel is really big on the defensive side of things, which is nice. At this point we have most of our package in. Now it’s just about perfection.”
On the mental approach to camp:
“You’re taking a single practice, a single meeting, a single day at a time. You’re going to play the way you practice. It’s the same mental toughness, same physical toughness…our goal is to literally get better every day. It can’t be a different mindset than a game.”

Name: John Davidson
Otherwise known as:
“Two-a-days Steven Spielberg”
Experience:
Third camp at Carleton
Can be found:
Preparing and executing the filming of practices, then uploading the film online for players and coaches to access.
On the process of filming:
“We make sure all the film is recorded and uploaded quickly right onto [athletic film viewing software] Hudl. We try to make sure it’s up within two hours.”
On the recent uptick in technology:
“We’ve got brand new cameras as of last year (two Sony Handycams and one Panasonic.) Hudl is really nice for the guys and helps everyone out a lot. I think this year we’ve really embraced it fully.”
On responsibility of filming and future of the position:
“There’s a lot of pressure. We usually upload right from the (Center for Mathematics and Computing) on campus. We type up and upload all the plays so the players don’t have to. We also got two iPads this year. We’re hoping we get to the point where we can upload during practice so players can have immediate feedback when they’re done.”

Name: Robert Deng
Otherwise known as:
“Rookie”
Experience:
First camp at Carleton
Can be found:
Going from getting open (as a wide receiver in high school) to stopping guys from getting open (as a defensive back at Carleton).
On going through his first college football camp:
“It’s been pretty cool. Really tiring. But it’s been going by really fast. It’s a lot different than high school. Everyone’s always moving around doing something.”
On things he would do differently at the start of another camp:
“I’d bring a fan.”
On the move to defensive back:
“There have been some growing pains. But I’m learning a lot from the coaches. I’m learning a lot, period.”

Name: Tom Menke
Otherwise known as:
“The energy”
Experience:
First camp at Carleton
Can be found:
Bouncing in and around defensive drills, talking throughout and pumping players up as the linebackers coach.
On being hands-on and full of energy during practice:
“A big deal in football right now is practice tempo. With our offense being no huddle we have a lot of that energy, which is good. But any time that energy is lacking [during practice] you need to be the one to pick it up.”
Favorite thing about camp:
“I’m most pleased with the commitment of our players. I’ve been in football long enough to know it doesn’t matter as much about the X’s and O’s. Players here are committed to this program, their teammates and their coaches.”

Name: Omar Reyes
Otherwise known as:
“Chomping at the bit”
Experience:
Second camp at Carleton
Can be found:
On the sidelines nursing a day-to-day injury.
On being dinged up:
“In a day or so I’ll be back. It happens. You’re out here for a couple of days and everyone starts having bumps and sores. Some are worse than others. That’s just the nature of it.”
On having a sideline view of camp versus participating:
“It’s a different view. We watch a lot of film, too…on a lot of other teams. You’re watching other people that do your job really, really well. From standing here [during camp] I can see the emphasis and detail of everything we’re trying to do. But it does leave a little bit of a bitter taste in your mouth just standing and watching.”

Name: Chad Alladin
Otherwise known as:
“The trainer”
Experience:
Sixth camp at Carleton
Can be found:
Tending to players’ aches, pains, bruises, injuries, or any other physical needs; stopping injuries with preventative measures; and supervising crew of assistant medical trainers.
On the physical wear of camp:
“The injuries definitely don’t slow down. It definitely picks up as camp goes on.”
On the excessive heat:
“This is unusual, even for camp. It’s tricky trying to get things down in practice without anyone getting heat illness or other problems. We work with the coaches to keep things lighter and shorter when we need to, and try to keep them aware of the situation.”

Name: Zach Heinrich
Otherwise known as:
“Captain”
Experience:
Third camp at Carleton
Can be found:
In the heart of the Carleton defense, anchoring it physically and mentally from the middle linebacker position.
On the nature of camp:
“It’s absolutely a grind. We’ve just got to keep our effort up. Have to work on giving pure effort as a full team…and keep the morale and attitude of the team up.”
On stepping into a leadership role as a junior:
“With the third year round, as an upperclassman, it feels good to take on that role. I kind of knew coming in I would have to. You have to embrace it wholeheartedly. It’s all about keeping these young guys’ morale up through camp.”

Name: Michael Delcambre
Otherwise known as:
“The man behind the meals”
Experience:
Fifth camp at Carleton
Can be found:
In and out of the kitchens at the cafeteria, preparing meals for the football team and other athletic programs’ camps.
On fueling the entire football team:
“With football we try to make sure we do a lot of local greens…and have fruits, veggies, lots of grains. We make sure the hot foot that’s available is filling, but not over-fattening. We try to do some things with international flair. Today we have braised pork, some chicken, tater tots. Things you don’t have to eat a lot of to get what you need.”
On working with the team on nutrition:
“We talk with the coaches and keep up an open line of communication. It’s that communication where they can tell us if there’s anything we need to be doing different…or if they’re doing special stuff we need to prepare for.”

Name: Beau Smit
Otherwise known as:
“Fresh legs”
Experience:
First camp at Carleton
Can be found:
Learning the offense and catching passes as a freshman wide receiver.
On getting through a hot camp:
“It’s actually been going really well. If we can play through this we can play through anything.”
On going through camp as a freshman:
“They’ve thrown a lot at us. We get a new set of plays pretty much every night. Lots of meetings. There are some senior receivers and it’s good to have them to look up to. They’ve been helping me out a lot.”
Favorite non-football part of camp:
Taking a nap after a nice big meal. We’ve been getting together with some other freshmen and playing Madden tournaments, too. That’s been pretty fun.”

Name: Bob Pagel
Otherwise known as:
“Coach”
Experience:
Eighth camp at Carleton
Can be found:
Running the whole production, from practices to meetings.
On the importance of preseason camp:
“It truly is [very valuable]. Some of this stuff needed to start in the offseason, with the fundamentals. But this is where we get all that in place. In the game season it’s all about getting ready for your next opponent. You can come back to some things and touch on it, but this is where you get the base set.”
On getting him team improvement without risking overuse during camp:
“We don’t have the biggest team, so it is critical we keep guys healthy. That’s the battle right now. The heat doesn’t help. We don’t have the depth to have guys down.”