Otterbein’s staff leads the way behind the football field
By: Casey Cheney, Hillsdale Collegian
Their week begins Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. A rigorous regimen of analysis, strategy and implementation consumes the following days. The final horn blast the next Saturday signals the end of their grueling week.
In less than 24 hours, the process repeats. The assistant coaches of the Charger football team have committed themselves to this life.
Sunday, after grading Saturday’s game, the coaches move on to their next opponent. This process carries into Monday, a day dedicated to more than 12 hours of analyzing film.
“When we start feeding it to our guys it’s Tuesday and Wednesday,” Nate Shreffler said. “Depending on how much I have for this week’s opponent, I’ll start on Wednesday on next week’s opponent.”
By Thursday, both player and coach are familiar with Saturday’s game plan. Friday is reserved for final meetings before the game.
In the hours before kickoff, the coaches are involved with recruits who came out for the day. Nothing is left but to wait for the game’s arrival.
With the initial kickoff, the strategy they’ve come up with faces the true test.
The coaches stand on the sidelines, looking for “anything that might be different from what we’ve prepared for,” Shreffler said.
When the last seconds tick down on the clock, the team and staff have a brief reprieve from their duties.
“As soon as the game’s over with, that’s the end of the day,” Shreffler said.
The Charger football coaching staff packs experience any NCAA Division I school would envy.
Offensive coordinator Barry Fagan carries the title of “the oldest member on staff” with coaching experience of more than thirty years. He coached for seven years at Hillsdale’s rival, Ferris State University.
Defensive coordinator and secondary coach Craig Blanchard began at Hillsdale in 2005, after 12 years of coaching.
Fagan recalled coaching against Blanchard while at separate schools, naming Blanchard as the GLIAC’s best secondary coach.
This year Shreffler entered his tenth year at Hillsdale, and his brother, Aaron Shreffler, the defensive line coach, enjoys his third season with Hillsdale.
Pat Hornak, halfbacks/tight ends coach, returns for his second season, and has also been the director of football relations for three years.
“He’s like a mini head coach,” Fagan said. “He has his hands in everything Otterbein has his hands in. He’s the best tight end coach we’ve had since I’ve been here.”
Hornak, a 2006 graduate and former Charger, also assisted the football staff while still a student at the school.