The new era of Ripon Tiger football has begun.
After 12 years under the reign of Rick Kelm, co-coaches Al Schraeder and Marty Moldenhauer have officially taken over the program with the beginning of practice last week.
And in addition to new head coaches, a lot of new faces are on the field as well. Ripon lost players to graduation in nearly every major area.
The Tigers return 12 seniors and 12 juniors, but joining them in the program are 14 sophomores and 28 freshmen.
But according to the coaches, the upper-classmen players are meshing well with the younger players.
“The senior group has stepped up and taken charge,” Moldenhauer said. “The team has a great attitude. That’s the best thing — they’ve been sticking together.”
This is part of the attitude that the coaches wanted to bring to the program, with a big focus being on communication.
“We wanted to create an environment with a high level of communication between coaches, athletes and parents,” Schraeder said. “We want to be very positive and be efficient at what we do. It’s a combination of fun and hard work, and it’s paying off for us and has rolled into the work ethic. You don’t see people walking out there — they’re working.”
While the attitude is there for the team, the inexperience is something that it will have to work through.
To fill some of the gaps in experience, upper-classmen players will be expected to fill several roles.
“We’ll be relying on some of our starters on both sides of the field this year,” Moldenhauer said.
Read the full story in the Aug. 19, 2010 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.