The pads aren’t popping yet but college football is back.
UW-La Crosse finished up its second spring practice of the new season Wednesday.
Lots of work to do said coach Mike Schmidt, with the arrival of new offensive coordinator Luke Bengston.
“Most of the entire focus for us — and really from the big picture view — is getting the offense ready to go,” Schmidt said. “And have a little bit of rhythm and get them a platform to jump off in getting ready for fall camp.’
“Our road to a championship starts right now.”
One noticeable hole on that offense will be at wide receiver with first-team all-American Nick Holcomb graduating.
Schmidt said position battles start right away.
“We lose such a great player in Nick Holcomb and that production has to come from somewhere,” Schmidt said. “We can get a pretty good idea here in the spring, what’s going to happen there — if we have playmakers on the outside.
“So that’s been kind of fun to watch, some of the new guys step into the role.”
Holcomb starred for the Eagles last season setting school records with 1,400 yards receiving and 20 touchdowns.
The Eagles went from 3-7 the year before Schmidt took over to 8-2 last year, his second season.
With year three underway this week Schmidt says he can see the improvement of his program even without the pads on.
“Every single spring we’ve gotten better,” he said. “ It’s even evident right now. Just as a program, the depth of our program, is just better right now, already.”
Schmidt says outside expectations and pressures might have changed, but their personal goals and aspirations have not, as they eye a national championship.
Division 3 schools are allowed 16 spring practices. UW-L will take 15 given the way the schedule works out.