The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Megan Voorhees
Megan Voorhees
Assistant News Editor

Hi! I’m Megan Voorhees and I’m the Assistant News Editor at The Northwind! I was first introduced to journalism my sophomore year of high school and I’ve been in love with the profession and writing...

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Football underclassmen step forward

Standing at a mere 5’6″, Anthony Leandri is easy to miss when he’s on the field . However as long as Leandri still dons a Wildcat football jersey, missing is something he would rather avoid.

Leandri, the Wildcats’ red-shirt freshman kicker who transferred to Northern after one season at the University of South Florida (USF), moved into the starting position in week two of the 2007 season. An inconsistent season-opening performance by previous starter Jon Laue pushed Leandri, who hadn’t seen the field in USF, into the starting role.

Transferring to a new college is a big change in its own right, but Leandri traveled across the country to attend NMU. He had to get used to new coaches, new teammates and a new climate.

“I have never seen snow before, so coming here was a tough decision,” Leandri said. “But I loved the guys, coaches and facilities when I visited and I am glad I decided to come here.”

Story continues below advertisement

It may have been a decision well made for everyone involved, as Leandri’s future in a Wildcat uniform looks bright. During his first week of starting action, the kicker connected on two of three field goal attempts, with his only miss coming at 43 yards out from the left hash mark. He also went five-for-five on his point after attempts.

“We had felt that it was a very, very close race with the veteran Jon Laue heading into week one,” head coach Bernie Anderson said. “We had went with Laue, but I felt we had to give Leandri an opportunity to show what he could do and after the performance by both, we’ll be sticking with Leandri.”

Lining up for his first field goal of his short career, Leandri was nervous but felt confident in his abilities.

“I knew I could make it easily,” Leandri said. “Even though I would not admit, I was nervous that I would screw things up for the team.”

Leandri didn’t falter, however, and the field goal was good from 25 yards.

Unlike some kickers who claim to have superstitions and rituals before kicks, Leandri says he has none. A simple inside joke between a couple of teammates before every kick helps him relax and focus on the task at hand.

As he settles into his new role, Leandri has set personal goals on the year along with a team goal. He will be looking to continue moving toward them this week against Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU).

“My goals for the season are to make one of the GLIAC All Conference teams and have a winning season for the team,” he said.

Leandri’s Goals, if accomplished, might just make him a little more noticeable on the field.

A Crumbling Line

Heading into the 2007 season, a veteran offensive line appeared to be the high point of a Wildcat offense that was looking to improve on their record of 3-7 from the previous year. Now, just two games into the season, experience and depth will be something NMU coaches will be searching for along the line.

Seniors Dan Ryan and Cody Hanson, along with junior Luke Domitrovich have all suffered injuries so far this season. Hanson was injured during the fourth quarter of the Indianapolis game with the second knee injury of his career, while Ryan and Domitrovich were both sidelined in last week’s home opener against Hillsdale.

“Cody is more than likely done forever, and that is a huge loss,” Ryan said. “Luke sprained his ankle during the Hillsdale game and the X-rays came back negative, so Luke should be ready for the Saginaw game next week.”

The diagnosis for Ryan looks to be rough, as well. He completely tore the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee, and will be out a minimum of six weeks. Ryan is awaiting MRI results to determine whether he also tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). While the MCL tear will heal by itself, the ACL tear would require surgery to repair and would be a season-ending injury.

“I left with 80 percent of the season which qualifies me for a medical redshirt,” Ryan said. “If I were not able to come back this season, I will be able to get a medical red-shirt and play next season.”

With two players possibly gone for the year and another trying to return from injury, a heavy burden has been placed on some of the younger players to step up into starting positions. Redshirt freshmen Jason DuMont and Mike Levy and sophomore Nick Owens all will be looking to make their marks.

“I think the offensive line has done a great job filling those positions,” said Owens. “We do a good job of taking mental reps in meetings and out on the field when the physical reps are limited.”

After filling in when Hanson got injured last season, Owens is the most experienced of the trio.

“Owens saw some playing time last year after Cody went down, and he had a really productive spring and early camp. Now he gets a chance to play and show everyone what he can do,” Ryan said.

Depth behind the current starters remains the biggest concern, as with each injury less and less players are left to fill in along the line.

“They lack the experience but they have some playing time,” Anderson said. “I think the only problem is we really don’t have the depth behind these guys now because our depth is playing, but I think they’ll step in and do fine.”

The reconstructed line will have big shoes to fill after last week’s starters paved the way for 369 total rushing yards, including a Superior Dome record 317 by running back Mark Bossuah. It may be up to the young players to buoy the Wildcat offense this season.

“We’ve lost players, but not leadership,” Owens said. “I think we’ll do well with the players we have.”

More to Discover