GVSU shapes up for round two
Football prepares to host veteran-laden Truman State squad
Azusa Pacific University may have challenged the Grand Valley State University football team physically, but come Saturday, GVSU head coach Matt Mitchell expects his team to be confronted with a different challenge.
Following a 38-17 victory over Azusa Pacific, GVSU will look to limit its mental lapses as it faces an
experienced Truman State University team (1-0, 1-0 GLVC). The Bulldogs return 15 starters from
last year’s 4-7 team, including nine seniors.
“I think Azusa was good because they were a physical team,” Mitchell said. “This is good because
this is a team that’s a very disciplined team, that focuses a lot on execution. My point being that
sometimes, in the first game, our execution wasn’t very good. So if we’re sloppy, they definitely
have a chance to beat us. It’s definitely going to force us to be on our game from an execution
standpoint, and that’s what we need.”
Truman State’s offense is based on a pro set, which creates numerous possibilities to use multiple
offensive packages. Identifying the various personnel groups pre-snap is just another facet the
Lakers have to plan for.
“Offensively they’re going to run a lot of personnel groups,” Mitchell said. “Two backs spread you
out and do a lot of things, and get a lot of pressure on you mentally to recognize what formation
In its 40-37 win over Southwest Baptist University, Truman State amassed 200 yards on the
ground, including 146 yards from junior running back Garret White. Come Saturday, Mitchell
expects his defensive players to be tested early on in their ability to stop the run and hopes his
team doesn’t allow anywhere near the 196 yards it surrendered to Azusa Pacific.
“They’re primarily working off last year’s tape, and we didn’t defend the run very well, and it’s kind
of what they do,” he said. “I’m sure they’re going to try to test us up the middle. Hopefully we’re a
little stouter and cleaned up some things from last week, because if they can run the ball, it’s going
to be a long night.”
With junior defensive lineman Matt Judon and Isiah Dunning’s status up in the air for Saturday’s
game, the onus is on the guys who can suit up to fill the void.
“I think we try to stay mentally strong as a group, because we feel that if you put anyone in there,
we’re still going to play (well),” said junior defensive tackle Frank Boenzi. “As a group, we just got
to control the line of scrimmage. The d-line definitely sets the tone for the defense and the whole
team. I feel the defense moves as the d-line moves. If you’re controlling the line of scrimmage and
getting pressure, then good things are going to happen.”
Despite scoring 38 points in the win over Azusa Pacific, the offense was far from perfect. The
Lakers officially committed three turnovers, but they also lost a fumble that was negated due to a
penalty by Azusa Pacific. They’ll look to clean up those mistakes in week two and look to put
together some scoring drives.
“The turnovers is number one,” Mitchell said. “We basically had four turnovers. We’re not doing that
A lot of our scores on offense were on short fields. Throughout the year, we’re going to have longer
drives so that’s what we’re trying to get done.”
GVSU will also look to get more out of their receiving corps on offense. Out of the 14 completions
thrown by junior quarterback Heath Parling, only two were made by a wide receiver, both by junior
“As a wide receiver group, kind of attacking that and making sure we’re more of a part of the
game,” senior Brandan Green said. “Spread out the offense more, help our running backs more and
get some pressure off the offensive line and the quarterback as well.”
The game is set to start at 7 p.m. and marks the second of three home games for GVSU to open the