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Briar Cliff University

Briar Cliff enters the 2013 season with a new home – the DakotaDome in Vermillion, S.D. – and is hoping the new home field will provide more success than what the program has experienced in the last decade of existence. This season fans will have a chance to catch a double-header of games as the University of South Dakota will play home games on the afternoons of Oct. 12 (Indiana State), Nov. 2 (Youngstown State) and No. 9 (Montana) before the Chargers host Northwestern, Midland and Doane those evenings. 

The offense will look for its identity early and will do so with a pair of quarterbacks who started last season. Kevin Van Egdom got the call in the first two games of the season before suffering an injury. P.J. Quiroga took over for the remainder of the season. The Chargers hope with nine offensive starters back the experience will allow the Chargers to be more successful. 

Said Coach Rethman of his offense, “We return a number of players on the offensive side of the ball with playing experience and with this added experience we need to be able to establish the run better and try to bring more balance to what we do. Although we did some nice things in the pass game last season, our expectations are that we will be even better in 2013.”

The defense returns seven starters from a year ago, but will have to be much better after giving up the most points per game (37.6) to opposing offense and the second most yards per game (446.4). Alfredo Vizcarra, Harrison Wentland and Josh Block need to be the leaders on the defense in 2013. The Chargers have a new defensive coordinator this season with the addition of Nick Taylor, who spent that last six seasons at Bethany College (Kan.). A new scheme with returning starters may be what this defense needs.

Thoughts: Briar Cliff has a lot of work ahead if it is going to climb out of the bottom of the GPAC standings. The team has tried the junior college route to improve the team, perhaps a second year in the system with Coach Rethman is what some of these guys needed. Briar Cliff is in for an interesting season as the Chargers attend school in Iowa, practice in Nebraska and play home games in South Dakota.