UNK football sets spring schedule
KEARNEY, Neb. (Press Release) - The Nebraska-Kearney football team begins preparations for the 2022 season on Wednesday, March 23, with the start of spring practice.
The Lopers will work out the NCAA-allotted 15 times between March 23 and April 23. Weather permitting, UNK will practice three days per week between 4:15-6:45 p.m. (estimated end time) at Ron & Carol Cope Stadium at Foster Field. Practices are open to the public; see the scheduled dates below. The lone Saturday scrimmage will run from around 9-11:30 a.m.
The spring roster is posted as well (in practice, offense/special teams wear white, defense blue and QB’s gold).
Head coach Josh Lynn and his staff must replace one All-American and five other All-MIAA players off a team that went 10-3 in 2021, reached the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs and finished the year ranked 15th. Among the key departures are All-American right tackle Corey Hoelck and fellow All-MIAA selections Jacob Browne (center), Dayton Sealey (running back), Travis Holcomb (outside backer), Matt Krzysztalowicz (right guard) and Blake Schroeder (defensive end). Starters Blake Bubak (free safety), Shane Henderson (nose guard), Nathan Slusarski (long snapper), Kyler Van Housen (tight end) and Terrell Williams (corner) have graduated as well.
Returning to the fold is 2021 Harlon Hill Trophy Runner up, All-American and MIAA Offensive Player of the Year and TJ Davis (Colorado Springs). The fifth-year quarterback had a hand in 40 touchdowns in 2021 and averaged 267 yards of total offense per game. The other returning All-MIAA offensive selections are left guard Hunter Hays (McCook), running back Montrez Jackson (Trenton, Fla.), receiver Michael Koch (Columbus) and left tackle Kooper Reece (Valentine). The offense averaged 34 points and 450 yards per game last fall.
The Loper “D” is led by All-American strong safety Darius Swanson (Aurora, Colo.). The fifth-year player had 98 tackles, four interceptions and seven pass breakups last year. Other returning All-MIAA selections are outside backer Atoa Fox (San Diego), inside backers Jacey Nutter (Thedford) and Zach Schlager (McCook) and end Tell Spies (Mullen). Jackson and Nutter will be two of UNK’s “COVID” seniors in 2022. The defensive gave up just 23 points and 388 yards last fall.
On special teams, fifth-year senior Hunter Kraus (Sargent) returns, as does veteran kicker Junior Gonzalez (Corning, Calif.). Besides Slusarski, starting holder and 2021 co-captain Grant Buschkoetter has graduated.
The 2022 season begins at Missouri Southern State on Sept. 1 (Thurs.), with fall camp beginning the first week of August.
Practice Dates (Dates can change due to weather)
Practice #1 – Wednesday, March 23 … helmets
Practice #2 – Friday, March 25 … helmets
Practice #3 – Monday, March 28 … shells
Practice #4 – Wednesday, March 30 … full pads starts
Practice #5 – Saturday, April 2 … scrimmage
Practice #6 – Monday, April 4
Practice #7 – Wednesday, April 6
Practice #8 – Friday, April 8
Practice #9 – Monday, April 11
Practice #10 – Wednesday, April 13
Practice #11 – Friday, April 15 … scrimmage/h.s. junior day
Practice #12 – Monday, April 18
Practice #13 – Wednesday, April 20
Practice #14 – Friday, April 22 … walkthrough
Practice #15 – Saturday, April 23 … Blue/Gold Spring game/scrimmage; more info TBA
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