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Carroll Football Marching Forward With New Era

By Kempson Cross SWX

Carroll College football is beating sunrise to the practice field for several sessions this spring. The new 5 a.m. starts help the team avoid conflicts with class schedules. Fighting Saints head coach Troy Purcell says it’s all about improving the little things no matter what time it is.

“I think practice today needed a little bit more juice at the beginning. I thought they finished well. The kids are getting better, coaches are getting better, everybody’s learning how to practice, and how to finish,” said Troy Purcell.

Coach Purcell says the defense continues to be team strength after finishing among the best in the Frontier Conference during back-to-back seasons. First-year defensive coordinator and former Saints linebacker Jared Petrino says his scheme is slightly different but he expects this 2019 squad to follow many principles he learned while winning back-to-back national titles with Carroll.

“They’re so fortunate and blessed to be coached by a man like Mike Van Diest and the things that they’ve been taught and the techniques and the energy and attention to detail. I just want to play fast. I don’t want guys thinking. I want to be able to get them lined up, see the picture, and allow them to just play with speed,” said Jared Petrino.

“We haven’t really put in anything new for the install since day one. I mean we’ve put in some stuff but we’re just playing with much more confidence and much more speed because we’re more confident in what we’re doing and we know what we’re doing now,” said Nate McGree.

Purcell is also the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He says the QBs will likely compete throughout the spring and fall. What will the new offense around them look like?

“That’s always a good question to ask. We’ll watch film and evaluate that and go but I love inside zone. I like to be able to have an option-style quarterback that can run the ball and put pressure on defense and some RPO’s and kind of a variety of everything,” said Troy Purcell.

“Yeah, I hope we’re run-heavy and I sure think we’re trying to get our tight ends going, trying to get a fullback package in there, and get the run game going. The passing game has still got to be there and Coach Purcell likes to take his shots. It’s not good to just block your guy. We want to dominate and move the line of scrimmage and be perfect in our pass pro to keep our quarterback upright,” said Major Ali.

Coach Purcell says the Saints will also shift more attention toward special teams between now and their spring game on April 27th.

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