MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - There may be an abundance of new faces within the Maverick football program, as the days of Nate Gunn, Shane Zylstra and company are over, but don’t expect standard to change.
40 student-athletes have yet to play a regular season game, there is a new group of leaders, as well as additions to the coaching staff.
Minnesota State has used the spring season for player development and instilling the identity of Maverick football into the younger players.
“You have a red shirt group that came available and you have a whole bunch of people that haven’t left the program, so we’ve got a huge amount of young men who need opportunities and experience. For some of them it’s been a year, some two years and there are a handful of young men that were actually away from the game for three years,” head coach of the Maverick football team Todd Hoffner said.
MSU has two scrimmages under its belt, giving an idea of what the program has to offer ahead of the regular season.
“We have as much fun as we can at practice, but it’s a different atmosphere going against someone else, seeing something different, seeing people of different calibers, different talent levels, and just seeing where we are at, gauge where we are at going into this fall and seeing things that we need to work on and continue to build on. It’s a journey and we’re starting there and we’re going to keep going at it and eventually get back to where we want to be,” senior left guard Hunter Toppel said.
The senior class is preaching ‘holding the standard’ to the young guys.
One vital voice in conveying that message is Toppel.
“‘The Hogs’ if you will, he’s done a phenomenal job of taking on that leadership role and he missed his senior opportunity in the fall of 2020, so he’s sticking with it,” Hoffner said.
“It’s definitely helping them understand what the standard is being a Maverick football player and holding them to that standard and we don’t want to drop our standards to the competition, we want to hold ourselves accountable,” Toppel said.
“It’s nice that we get to play right away and all the older guys, they just bring us in like we’re one of their own and it’s really nice to get back with them,” freshman safety Joey Goetll said.
The Mavs will take on defensive powerhouse Grandview, this Saturday.
Another chance to see this young team at work.
“They should expect a young team that is ready to play ball and we’re getting better and better each week and each day,” Goetll said.