Thursday, September 1, 2011
WIAC preview two-a-days Part 8: UW-Platteville
Head Coach: Mike Emendorfer; 13th season at UWP; 42-77
Starters Returning/Lost on Offense: 9/2
Starters Returning/Lost on Defense: 8/3
Starters Returning/Lost at Kicker: 2/0
Returning All-WIAC: Zak Brinkman (Sr., Punter, 2010-Second); Corey Marks (Jr., DL, 2010-First); Nick Snyder (Jr., LB, 2010-Honorable); Lee Vlasak (Jr., All-Purpose, 2010-Second)
Platteville was a young team in 2010 and their youth showed in the outcomes of their games. After opening with wins over Buena Vista and rival Dubuque the Pioneers dropped a 51-20 decision. They then lost to UWW before rattling of wins against Eau Claire and La Crosse but then laid an egg in Oshkosh losing 14-41. UWP bounced back with a win against River Falls but finished the season with back to back losses to Stout and Stevens Point. Lee Vlasak emerged as a real threat as he had over 1,000 all-purpose yards for the Pioneers. At quarterback Nick Anderson had a pretty good year but went through some growing pains throwing for over 2,000 yards and 11 TDs but also threw 9 picks. The defense was pretty good against the run allowing just over 150 yards per game but the pass defense was last in the WIAC in pass defense allowing over 230 yards per game. The Pioneer rush offense also ranked last in the league.
The Pioneers will probably be a better team in 2011 but will it make any difference in their final record/conference standings. I don’t think it will. The problem for the pioneers is that everyone should be as good as or better than they were last year with the possible exception of La Crosse. Platteville does get both teams that are at a similar level as them, Oshkosh and Eau Claire, at home and get Stevens Point at home in the last week of the season as well. The schedule couldn’t get much better for UWP and they might just have a breakthrough season, unfortunately I’ve said that about 3 other teams so far as well.
Can Platteville win at River Falls and beat Point in one of their two games against the Pointers?
In the words of Doug Wagen, voice of the Pioneers, it has been a long time since either of those things has happened. If the Pioneers manage to knock off the Pointers and take care of business against Falls then they should achieve their goal of a winning record in conference. If not, the pioneers can expect another mediocre record.
Player to Watch:
While Coach Emendorfer’s philosophy regarding the run game has always been “we’ll run it after we catch it” when your best player is a running back you should probably adjust your game plan a little bit. That being said I think Coach E will always be more concerned with Vlasak’s all-purpose yardage more than just straight rushing yardage. Vlasak scored 13 touchdowns last year, including 5 in one game, and will look to reach pay dirt even more often this season.
Platteville will probably end up near the middle of the pack this year. While they look to be improved there is very little room for upward movement in the WIAC this season. The Pioneers are looking really good for the 2012 season with the number of juniors on this roster but for 2011 I expect more of the same from Mike Emendorfer’s team
If you want to hear my interview with Doug Wagen, voice of the Pioneers, you can listen to the WRST WIAC preview show at 12pm on Saturday September 3rd at wrst.org. That show will be followed by the broadcast of the UW-Oshkosh v. Central College game.
Tomorrow I’ll give some quick hits on each team (in case you missed any of the 2-a-days), give you key games to watch this season and make my full conference predictions in my 2011 WIAC preview.