Printed on the back of several St. Vincent football coaches’ shirts during their camp on Monday was the phrase “the standard is the standard.” It’s a phrase that has echoed throughout their summer work, and will continue to be preached throughout the season.
“It basically means that the standard that we set is the standard that we will maintain throughout the season,” St. Vincent football coach Tim Schumer said. “We will not accept anything less than that.”
What is that standard? Schumer said he hopes it is a lot of wins this season.
“It’s a mentality that I want us to have to make sure that we don’t get lost in the chaos of the season,” Schumer said. “At this point we aren’t playing anybody so we want to make sure that we are not just going through the motions of camp and keep the intensity up.”
After starting last season 0-3, St. Vincent won five of the next seven games and even captured their first district tournament victory since 2015. Schumer hopes to continue that upward trajectory into this season.
“We were trying some new things on both sides of the ball and then in the end of the season we hit our stride and kept harping on the little things. Even early on last season, the games were really close at halftime and then we just let them go in the second half. We were a pretty young team and we just started maturing as the games went on and believing in each other.”
How do they keep in the stride from week 1? That answer is pretty simple.
“We haven’t really changed a whole lot and are carrying over a lot of the same stuff,” Schumer said. “A lot of these upperclassmen have seen the concepts before and it’s called the same. So hopefully for our juniors and seniors it will be a lot more fine tuning and stuff like that, rather than learning something brand new.”
The Indians should have a lot more experience of the playbook and more experience in general with game-like situations. Schumer mentioned that each class sophomore-senior has about 8-10 kids in each group, with plenty of experience to boot because of the smaller team size at St. Vincent and some smaller class sizes in front of the upcoming seniors. The Indians had about four sophomores start on both the offensive and defensive sides as any one point in 2018.
“We don’t have 20 seniors or anything like that,” Schumer said. “But the junior and seniors are deep classes that have a lot of experience on the field. In our brand of football that should work out just fine.”
That brand of football should be the same that the Indians have deployed the past few seasons with Schumer as an offensive coordinator and now entering his second year as head coach. The Indians return multiple key offensive pieces from last season, including senior quarterback Garrett Dobbelare, who should lead the air attack for St. Vincent again this season.
“We are going to stick to our guns when it comes to our offense,” Schumer said. “Teams know that we like to pass and we will continue to do just that. But the thing that we want to do is be able to run the ball. We want to put more of an emphasis on that and to be able to run whenever we want to. We can always come back and throw the ball. To win it all, you have to be able to run the ball. On defense we just want to have an attacking mindset.
Schumer knows that saying one thing and doing another when it comes to running the ball is a very easy habit to fall into.
“We just have to practice it every day,” Schumer said. “My job as the coach is to make sure that everything is simple enough that my guys can handle it and understand what I want. The best way to get better at the run is to work on it until it is perfect, and then for me to trust that we can run the ball in any situation.”
All of it is encapsulated in the standard that the Indians have set to as Schumer put it, “win more games than last year.”
How do they do that?
“We just have to keep that competition mindset, whether it’s in practice or in a game,” he said.