Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
As Calendar Turns, Focus Shifts to Gridiron
Redshirt junior Eric Hoffman will help guide the Crusader offense this fall.
Redshirt junior Eric Hoffman will help guide the Crusader offense this fall.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Just across the parking lot from Brown Field, the demolition of the old Porter Hospital persists. On the field, the construction continues for head coach Dale Carlson in his fourth year at Valparaiso.

"We've had a very productive offseason. We had a very good spring practice. We've had a number of players that have been around here all summer - more than what we've had in the past," Carlson said during a Pioneer Football League conference call Thursday.

Carlson feels the team is in a much better position as he mentioned the word "commitment" several times when speaking with fellow coaches and media.

"You see the desire amongst our players to get to that turning point," Carlson stated.

Coming off a 1-10 season last year, a bevy of starters return on both sides of the ball. Redshirt sophomore Jake Hutson (Blanchard, Mich./Montabella) returns after a stellar freshman campaign that saw the running back average five yards per carry en route to a 753-yard season. Hutson earned PFL Offensive Freshman of the Year accolades for his work.

"Jake obviously is going to be a focal point of what we do. But in that vein, hopefully that opens up some other things for us as well in the passing game," Carlson said.

Redshirt junior Eric Hoffman (Manitowoc, Wis./Lincoln) will operate under center fresh off a freshman year where the quarterback threw for just a shade under 2,000 yards. His 115.4 passer efficiency rating coupled with nine touchdown passes keep defenses honest. Offensive lineman Stuart Barkley (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley Northwest) will help protect Hoffman. Barkley received an All-PFL Honorable Mention nod last season.

Senior Alex Grask (Naperville, Ill./Central) appears set to anchor the Crusader defense. The defensive back led the Brown and Gold with 113 tackles in 2012. Grask also recovered a team-high three fumbles.

Grask will work alongside senior Patrick Derbak (Schaumburg, Ill./Schaumburg) and his 73 tackles (six for a loss) from a year ago. Furthermore, sophomore John Guilford (Spencer, Ohio/Black River) could be in store for a monster season. As a freshman, Guilford earned All-PFL Honorable Mention honors after leading the Valpo defense in sacks (3) and tackles for a loss (6.5).

Training camp officially opens Sunday morning. While predictions of win-loss records remain the hot topic in early August, Carlson insists upon focusing on the execution of fundamentals.

"Our goal right now is to step up and be competitive week in and week out. I don't have a crystal ball. I can't look out and say 'we should win this many games'. We need to play consistently, be focused, and go out and execute in our offense, defense, and kicking game," Carlson concluded.

The Crusaders open the season Thursday, August 29th as they challenge the 2011 Great West Co-Champion University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux in Grand Forks. Kickoff is at 7:00 pm.

W Golf IPFW Spring Invitational Fort Wayne, Ind. (Chestnut Hills G.C.)
Apr 6 4th/12 (311)
W Tennis Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 6 Milwaukee 7
Softball Detroit 0 VU Softball Field
Apr 6 Valpo 8
Baseball Wright State 4 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 6 Valpo 2
W Golf IPFW Spring Invitational Fort Wayne, Ind. (Chestnut Hills G.C.)
Apr 7 9th/12 (642)
Softball Northern Illinois 6 VU Softball Field
Apr 8 Valpo 8
Baseball Valpo 5 Evanston, Ill.
Apr 8 Northwestern 12
Softball Northern Illinois 3 8 inn.
Apr 8 Valpo 4
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
M Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 11:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
W Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19, 1:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 5:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26 Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State