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Experience a Strength for Valparaiso Football Team
VALPARAISO - Winning was all Anthony Curry ever knew at Merrillville.
As a three-year starter in the Pirates’ defensive backfield from 2003-05, Curry experienced a 29-10 record, back-to-back sectional titles and a trip to semistate.
Curry capped his prep career with an 11-2 mark as a senior, only to go 3-8 with Valparaiso University as a freshman in 2006.
“It was a little different going from that to 3-8,” Curry, now a junior, said Wednesday at VU’s media day.
Curry is bracing for another change as he prepares for his second season as a full-time starter for the Crusaders. This time, he thinks it’ll be for the better.
“We’re slowly getting better,” he said. “Our goal is to win the (Pioneer Football League), but you gotta start with a winning record first.”
That’s something the Crusaders haven’t had since 2003. It’s something, though, that seems more attainable in coach Stacy Adams’ fourth year than his previous three.
“In years past we were dependent on freshmen coming in and helping us,” Adams said. “This year we don’t have to worry about that.”
Adams has better numbers (123 players are listed on the roster) and depth (75 players are back, including eight starters on offense and 10 on defense) than he can remember even in his years as a VU assistant.
“Basically our whole offense and defense is back,” senior wideout Steve Ogden said.
Ogden, a third-year starter and VU’s top receiving threat, has developed a good rapport with senior quarterback Warren Arnold, who accounted for 242 yards a game last year as the Crusades’ top passer and rusher.
The glaring question on offense is who will replace all-time leading rusher Jeff Horton. A pair of juniors tailbacks, Ross Weimer and John Popper are listed as Nos. 1 and 2, respectively on the preseason depth chart.
Whoever emerges as the starting tailback will have earned it, which, Adams noted, was not always the case in years past.
“Now we’ve got two or three guys that can compete for a starting position,” he said, “which is good.”
Billy Doll (Portage) is one of eight freshmen vying for time in the defensive backfield.
“It’s going really well,” Doll said. “I’m liking the atmosphere. Right now I’m just trying to get on the field as soon as possible.”
Doll will feel right at home on VU’s new FieldTurf, a surface on which he played at Portage. Adams believes the new synthetic turf will benefit his defense, which is predicated on speed, not size.
“Having the new FieldTurf is gonna be big for us,” Adams said. “(Fast) is the way we wanna play.”
Experience a strength for VU football team
By David Robb, The Munster Times (IN)