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Football - Tue, Jun. 27, 2017

There is little doubt that the Briar Cliff football team is excited knowing that it will be playing its home games in Sioux City again.

The addition of turf at Memorial Field will allow the Chargers to have a home field when it takes on the challenging Great Plains Athletic Conference schedule, but there are far too many things that need to be done between now and when the season kicks off Aug. 26.

Spring football was a bit different for the Chargers and new head coach Dennis Wagner with fewer numbers restricting what they could do with their 15 practices, but that does not mean that they went to waste.

"We had an opportunity to find out about ourselves and all along we have been talking about structure and being able to put things in," Wagner said. "We focused on fundamentals and techniques and worried about ourselves and how we could get better."

Wagner took over the program in February with 68 players and finished spring football practice with 42. It represents an issue were the team to play a game Saturday, but it also gives the veteran coach a base to build off of.

"We feel like we have a strong foundation of guys that are going to help us that have been here," he said. "Out of those 42 I believe there are 17 seniors so it is a large group of seniors that wanted to be back and be part of the program."

With Wagner being hired after signing day it has been a different kind of scramble to try to fill out the roster for the upcoming season.

"We feel really good at this point given such a late start," he said. "Not getting on campus until Feb. 20 and then hitting the road recruiting everyone had already had their signing classes. But there were other student-athletes out there that were dual-sport athletes who had been lucky to partner with our track program and wrestling.

"That is very important to us because we want athletes, guys that can do more than one thing. This recruiting class will be 40 to 45 strong."

That means BCU will be half newcomers for the upcoming season. Wagner did not rule out the possibility of some of his better athletes playing both ways.

Wagner left his team with a challenge before spring practice concluded to work hard over the summer and be prepared to contribute during the 2017 season.

"We are not talking about redshirting, it is who is going to play," he said. "Who is going to compete and battle for positions on this football team and continue to build structure and unity on this team."

Wagner also recently announced the addition of former Nebraska cornerback Titus Brothers has joined the coaching staff to instruct the BCU safeties.

One other key benefit for the program doesn't deal with any current player on the Charger roster. Wagner mentioned that seeing the work that is being done at Memorial Field has sparked interest among some of the former BCU players. Keeping as many former players connected to the program as possible is something that the new coach wants to do.

Story by Jeff Budlong (Sioux City Journal)

 
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