The Grand Valley State football team concluded their volunteer offseason workouts on Tuesday, Aug. 6, preparing for the 2019 season after finishing last season with a 10-2 overall record and a bitter taste in their mouths after a first-round playoff exit. Practice opened on August 12th, and it got off to a good start because of the players’ commitment to these off-workout.
“We’ve had 85 guys appear over the summer, lifting three days a week and speed training two nights a week,” said head coach Matt Mitchell. “It shows a really commitment, getting better five days a week.”
GVSU football strength and conditioning coaches have focused on help boost athletic performance and prevent injuries for returning players, doing as much as they can while the main coaches are not allowed to be in the room for it.
“Even though coaches can’t be present at these workouts, what we’re trying to do is put them in good shape to reduce the risk of injury,” Mitchell said. “Everything we do is around that, so it’s more about developing them as physical athletes than football players.”
While GVSU is not allowed to run two-a-day practices this year just like every other NCAA school, Mitchell feels like GVSU can get the most out of their players simply due to the hardworking, successful attitude amongst the team.
“We’ve got a great culture here and our players understand that you can’t just show up for two hours of training camp,” Mitchell said. “They have to be physically ready to play when they show up, we’re not getting them in shape in training camp. We’re working on fundamentals and skills training. We have a great group of guys committed to GVSU football who have gotten better this summer.”
While GVSU’s first game against Edinboro is less than a month away, Mitchell and his staff are more committed to improving on their current players and what they can control before preparing for opponents.
“We have Edinboro tape in our systems and we’ve done some breakdowns of it, but we haven’t done anything in regards to game planning,” Mitchell said. “Our focus here is seeing how things shake out with our depth charts and find identity for this football team. Once we have a good feel for who we are, we’ll shift our focus to preparing for the opener.”
The smell of football season is in the air, and even though the first game seems like it’s a long ways away, Mitchell is pumped to start in what hopes to be another successful GVSU football season, as he is excited to see the dynamic of the team change with a new quarterback at the helm in Cole Kotopka, and is especially excited to see how the previously-redshirted class of 2018 can contribute.
“Any time you head into football season, everybody has some optimism, and there’s a lot of things we’re excited about at Grand Valley,” Mitchell said. “We have a new quarterback who will change the dynamic of our football team, and the class of 2018 are a talented group, and we’re excited for them now. It’s awesome to see those guys with a full year under their belt, and see who can earn the right to play and help us on the field in 2019.”
The class of 2019 recruits, who arrived to training camp Saturday, Aug. 10, have joined the returning players and have just completed their first week of practice. They will prepare for their opening game against Edinboro, which will take place at Lubbers Stadium on Saturday, September 7, at 7:00 p.m.