Team depth pushes UWO to more success

Nate Proell

Through the first five football games of the season, the Titans averaged 250 yards of rushing per game. Despite not having their starting senior running back Dylan Hecker in the lineup, the Titans managed to put up 239 yards of rushing offense, proving that the depth of the team is very real.

Although he had an impressive personal performance tying his season-high of four touchdowns, senior quarterback Brett Kasper understands it takes a full team effort to beat a tough program like UW-La Crosse, and Kasper said that is what every player who played Saturday did in Hecker’s absence.

“We have a lot of depth,” Kasper said. “We call our running backs ‘The Stable.’ Mitch [Gerhartz] had a great game. JP [Peerenboom] got a score, and Chad [Walton] even had a couple runs and a reception in there too. We are so deep in the back position. We are really focused on that depth and not just trying to tag defenses with one [or] two people. It’s more so concept-based rather than player-based.”

Gerhartz said his two-touchdown performance speaks to the depth of the team, especially at the position of running back.

“At running back we are deep, we are four deep,” Gerhartz said. “We’ve got some good young guys coming up too. It hurts a lot when you lose a starter like Dylan, but I mean he is going to be back soon so us not even skipping a beat in the meantime is the best part.”

Head coach Pat Cerroni said the ability for the players to step up and perform when needed at any given moment is something that is of no surprise to him; rather, it is one of the keys to how the coaching staff developed the team.

“Our offense is really good, but we have a tremendous amount of depth,” Cerroni said. “It’s nice to be a part of something like that where your guy goes down and other players can step up. I’m just happy for Dylan because there is nothing worse than when you’re a player like him and you get hurt and then the team loses.”

Cerroni noted the program is built around the team’s depth at all positions and said the amount of talent the team has speaks to it not being dependent on one guy.

“I think what it proved was this: we never built this program on one guy, but for a while there it was like, ‘If you don’t have Dylan Hecker, I guess we can’t beat anybody,’” Cerroni said. “However, we sure stepped up in the end, and we have a lot of talent around here. So that is what I am most proud of is the fact that we aren’t built around one person.”

Cerroni said the victory was no fluke and the team has been preparing for the tough test they knew La Crosse would bring since the schedule came out.

“We knew it from a year ago when the schedule came out that this was going to be a big game,” Cerroni said. “They got a new coaching staff, and they have a great culture, they play hard. That was a big win. Especially after coming off the Platteville game and then having to travel again and do it on the road again, I’ll take it.”