WHOSE JOB IS IT ANYWAY?
Quarterbacks vie for starting spot at summer camp
As Grand Valley State University’s football team entered preseason camp this week, the thought of missing the playoffs for the past two years in a row was a popular subject among the local news outlets.
However, head coach Matt Mitchell said it wouldn’t be an issue with the team this early in the preseason.
“All of the pressure we are facing is internal, not external,” Mitchell said. “Our staff has high expectations and knows what we need to do to get the job done.”
Senior quarterback Heath Parling said neither he nor the rest of the team will be looking ahead into the season. Instead, the Lakers are more concerned about getting better every day in camp.
“We are taking things one day at a time,” Parling said. “We aren’t looking forward to getting back in the big picture. We need to get better from day one here at practice. That’s my approach and also Coach Mitchell’s approach and everyone who is a part of this team’s approach, as well.”
One area where Mitchell and the rest of the Laker coaching staff are putting extra focus in is the defensive side of the ball. Having allowed 458 yards and 31.5 points per game last year, defense is something the coaching staff and players are working hard to improve this preseason.
“We addressed things in a few different areas,” Mitchell said. “We spent a lot of time working on our schematics, our fundamentals, and also our talent. Getting the right players on the field is a big part of it.”
Probably the most intriguing position race going into camp is at quarterback. Parling, who suffered a torn ACL in his right knee in September, will battle junior Isaiah Grimes, who took over for Parling after he went out last season.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Mitchell said. “Heath beat out Grimes back in 2011, but a lot has happened since then. Heath hasn’t played football in close to a year and Isaiah has gained a lot of reps in that time. I’m interested to get out there and see them both take some reps.”
For as much attention as the position race at quarterback will bring, the issue of Parling’s knee may bring in the most attention as he tries to get back to form.
“I feel good, my mobility is great,” Parling said. “I feel like I can move around without any concerns. There’s not really anything for me to worry about at this point. I’m really excited to get back out there and throw the ball around.”
GVSU will start its season with a three-game home stand beginning with Azusa Pacific University on Sept. 7.