D2 Game Day is a weekly radio show that is syndicated across more than 30 radio stations nation wide as well as streamed online. Tom Van Hoy is the host of the 30 minute show and takes listeners through all the happenings around the nation in the realm of D2 football. Tune in each week at http://www.d2sportsnetwork.com/. The show is posted to the website every Friday morning.
Big games from last weekned (10/13)
UNO over UND at the Alerus, Delta over Valdosta after trailing, Catawba over CN after trailing, GV over Indy for 34 straight wins, West Texas A&M over Western New Mexico in front of 23K fans.
*NOTE: He said that Hillsdales record was from 84-87. He means 54-57.*
Regional Ranking Updates
California over Lock Haven +3 National -1 NE Region
Grand Valley: Unanimous #1 in Coaches Poll but #2 in the NW region.
Interview with California (Pa) Head Coach John Luckhardt
TVH: 7-0. 3-0 on league play.
JL: Good start. Veterans handled challenges. Opened with 3 teams in 18 days. Won all three and gave them a really good start.
TVH: Talked about a good team with success in recent years. How much does that experience mean to your team this year?
JL: Critical. All levels out when leadership can show commitment to incoming players.
TVH: How difficult is it to build depth from a scholarship standpoint?
JL: Critical part of our advantages. Scholarships limited to 25. Lots of teams in our league are lower than 25 but our administration gave us 25. Hopefully moving to 36 soon with the addition of Gannon, Mercyhurst and CW Post.
TVH: How much of a disadvantage is the 25 in the playoffs?
JL: Its more of a depth thing. Bloomsburg in the semis last year had a player (Jahari Evans) that made it to the Saints. They obviously have some talent. The problem is that the backup doesn’t have the same talent. The longer into the playoffs you play, the more talent you need behind the starters. Their TB went down, 3rd went in and rushed 170ish yards. The 36 at least lets you be competitive in depth.
TVH: From recruiting, like to redshirt?
JL: Took best freshman and redshirted them. We have 14/15 seniors and 5 are graduate students. We do have 3 true freshman playing but for the most part we redshirt. We get an extra spring/year in the weight room. If you don’t do that then you are probably at a disadvantage.
JL: 14 schools (16 next year) split East and West. Last year, East had advantage but West looks better this year. Very physical league. GLIAC, other leagues, etc are much strong top to bottom but competition here is tough here and coaching is top notch (many old D1 coaches).
TVH: Defensively playing great
JL: We are kicking pretty good as well but ya we are pretty good on defense. We had 10 returning starters. Very athletic but not perfect. If you play good defense, you should be pretty good overall.
TVH: Turnovers +10
JL: Ya that definitely helps. We don’t leave the ball laying around often. We move the ball.
JL: A bit more conservative because the defense handles it. Throwing it a bit less than in years past. We may have to change that as we play this season.
TVH: Poll differences. Approach?
JL: Pay attention week to week but don’t really matter until November. The next three weeks are going to be big. “Polls will take care of themselves if you do what you are capable of doing.”
Interview with Lynn Meredith (former D2 HC, Athletic Director, and Football Analyst)
TVH: GV at 34 straight wins which breaks record set *several* years ago by Hillsdale.
LM: Great accomplishment at any level. All stars need to be aligned right.
TVH: One of the keys to success is getting their once.
LM: Recruiting style is important. Yes school and academics are important but not always the whole decision. Feeling on campus is definitely important in most cases. Relationship with coaches/players also definitely matter in recruiting. Leadership that is no indimitated is important.
TVH: Continuing to win is hard. Almost back yourself into a corner.
LM: As a good coach, you almost want that as a motivation type pressure. If you are able to get players that love that motivation, then you are all set.
TVH: 12K+ at GV/Indy. 23K+ for Wagon Wheel game. Nice to see D2 getting that size crowds
LM: Movement in the recent years to promote what a great division this is. ESPNU, CSTV, Fan sites, blogs, our show, etc. We try to bring a national perspective since D2 is normally region based. Competition is also up.
TVH: 3 teams where visiting team won. UNO at UND. Delta at Valdosta. Catabwa at Carson-Newman. Shows the caliber of those visiting teams.
LM: Very hostile environment. Those are very big victories which will propel each of those teams even more than before.
TVH: West Texas A&M and Western New Mexico - Long road trips are difficult.
LM: Absolutely. D2 coaches/players are moving on to D1 and NFL level and getting somewhere. I think it’s great. It really takes a lot to be in D2. When I coached at Panhandle, we took turns painting the field. You really have to want to go in and play. This dedication shows in their professional lives.