Young Panthers looking for GRIT

A Young Panthers team looks to show toughness and strength as they return to the Pit this weekend.

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As the football season gets underway the Elder Panthers have faced early adversity.

With only four returning offensive starters and Coach Brett Currin moving to the defensive side of the football, the Panthers lack experience.  They hope to make up for that lack of experience with toughness.

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I interviewed Coach Tim Austing, first year wide receiver coach, assistant basketball coach, and former quarterback for the Panthers about what his responsibilities are this year.

“I am coaching the wide receivers and up in the press box on Friday nights I also help out a little with special team return guys,” said Austing. “At Elder there is a lot more passion and interest on behalf on the students and fans, also, expectations are higher.”

“At Elder you are the hunted instead of hunter because the other schools want to beat the schools like Elder,” said Austing.

Austing went on to say that the Panthers lack experience on offense but are hoping to cutback on mistakes and gain confidence each game. The Panthers also hope to gain physical toughness as they go deeper into the season.

“Elder is a special atmosphere that is much different than other schools. I’m anxious for my first game in the Pit as it’s been about 15-20 years since I’ve been a part of it,” said Austing.

Sophomore starting slot receiver Kyle Trischler  talked about the challenges that have faced the team thus far.

“There are several challenges that we have faced this season, so far the first of which would have to be injuries,” said Trischler. “I mean, we’ve had some pretty important guys out like Zach Dehner, Ross Hambleton, and Austin Obrien, but the team has managed these challenges fairly well by being flexible and having some younger guys be able to step up and help out a little.”

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Trischler went on to say that the Panthers are very inexperienced especially on offense but this has let a lot of room for competition in practice all summer. Guys have been really able to improve and prove themselves.

Trischler said, “The difference between this football season and last year is that there are obviously going to be some new guys out there after losing guys like Peyton Ramsey and Tommy Kraemer and that entire senior class.”

“There are guys who have proven themselves and fit into their roles pretty well, though, like Danny “Smooth” Nieman, who has really been starting to settle in at quarterback.”

“We’ve got Danny Faillace, who has been playing great at receiver and of course Adam Schwallie as well.”

“This year, though, unlike last year we are much more experienced on defense which is probably our stronger side of the ball. Experienced guys like Zach Lyons and Nick Niehaus have been killing it out there and so has the rest of the defense they have really settled in to the new defense we installed last year and improved a lot,” said Trischler.

Nieman, the starting junior signal caller, shared his thoughts about the team thus far.

“We’re already a pretty inexperienced team this year and especially on the offensive side of the ball we’ve been hit with some injuries early on,” said Nieman. “The next guys up have done a pretty good job stepping in and doing what they’ve been coached to do to contribute.”

Nieman went on to say that grit and toughness have been key goals all season.

“All throughout the summer and these first few weeks of the year we’ve been competing at practice every day. The coaches have done a good job at staying on us to get the most out of us each week”

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He thinks that this year’s team will not be able to get away with as many mistakes as they were last year.

We don’t have a guy who’s going to be physically dominating the man across from him this year like we did last year. That’s why it’s crucial that we all do our job every play,” said Nieman.

Nieman paused as he got ready to play his first game under the lights in The Pit.

“Can’t Wait.”