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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

’Cats excited for fresh start to season

The upcoming Wildcat football season kicks off with a Thursday night home game against Minnesota State-Mankato at 7 p.m. Sept. 1 with one of the biggest returning senior class the GLIAC conference has seen in a while as well as one of the most talked about recruited classes.

Head coach Bernie Anderson said he is really excited about the leadership roles his upperclassmen have taken and how good it is for morale going into the season.

“Leadership is always important,” Anderson said. “Twenty-four seniors is a high number. No one else has that, and we rely on them for leadership to mentor younger players and pass on their great work ethic.”

“Anytime you have experience it’s an obvious benefit; you can’t buy it and we have some good experience coming back. We’ve learned some lessons in the past that will help us in the future.”

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In addition to bringing back players he plans on bringing back an offensive system that worked well last season.

“Offensively, our advantage is that this is our second year with a new system. Everything was so new last year, but we’re already used to it this year,” Anderson said. “We’ll use our quarterback and spread people out.”
One of the major players in this offensive strategy is starting quarterback Carter Kopach who will be coming back from an injury that kept him out of the second half of last season.

“I tore my Achilles (tendon) halfway thru last year; I worked really hard on my rehab and did everything I was supposed to,” Kopach said. “I’m excited to get back out and compete and be back out there with my teammates. I feel great and am ready to go.”

Kopach said he is also looking forward to the experience that this season’s team is coming in with and how much help it will be.

“We have a mature team, we’ve stayed more focused more goal oriented; everyone’s focused on one goal,” Kopach said.

Defensively, Anderson said the ‘Cats have a reliable game plan that has been rated high in the conference.
“Defensively, we are one of the top teams in the conference, and, statistically, we don’t lose a lot of people,” Anderson said.

Anderson said there is an advantage to the defensive strategies his team runs; called a 30 package defense.
“It’s different than a lot of people so we are poised to be a very good defense and defense keeps you in games,” Anderson said. “It’s to our advantage because it’s different from what the offense has to play against; will make us a better football team.”

Senior inside linebacker Eddie Knoblock is confident in the returning numbers and knowing how hard the team has been working through the summer and camp.

“Going through tough workouts over the summer and during camp have brought us closer; we lean on each other for motivation.” Kopach said. “The chemistry between new players and old players is coming together nicely.”

Defensive lineman James Brito-White and defensive back Carrington Beckford are both a part of the popularly talked about recruiting class and were both recruited from East Coast schools.

“I’ve been getting better out here,” Brito-White said. “I used to play with one of the veterans and I’m looking forward to coming into the team unity that has already been established in this program.”

Beckford said he also likes the team atmosphere from his new Wildcat family.

“The team chemistry is trying to put this program in the right direction,” Beckford said.

A majority of the football team stayed in Marquette over the summer working hard towards their upcoming season. They were led in strength and conditioning by coach Andy Tysz, the USOEC head weightlifting coach.
Senior running back Johnny Privitelli has seen the team as a whole get stronger and faster as they stick to Tysz’s training.

“Andy’s weightlifting regiment is better than everything I’ve ever done, better than high school and junior college,” Privitelli said. “Everything comes together as one big process in the end.”

Inside linebacker coach Joe Ballard has been pleased with the work his athletes have put in over the summer with Tysz.

“Andy has done a great job organizing the team, getting them here, and doing Olympic lifting,” Ballard said. “They’ve been conditioning all summer and working hard, they looked great coming in. We were able to hit the ground running so camp has just been football and drills instead of conditioning.”

Ballard says that the team will be well prepared for the upcoming game against Mankato as well as the upcoming season in general.

“Last year we lost 7-6; players will be watching film and they will be prepared by the time we play,” Ballard said. “I feel really good about the upcoming season as long as we prevent injuries, stay healthy, and as long as the ball rolls our way, we should be good.”

Knoblock adds that the whole team is ready to handle some unfinished business after last years game ended so closely.

“We are very excited about this game; losing by a one point game hurts pretty bad,” Knoblock said. “We’ve got a chip on our shoulder, but we are still excited, and it will be a big help that this game will be a big home opener.”

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