CEDAR RAPIDS — No McGivney, no Reynolds. Don’t even begin to throw around that “no chance” moniker.
Luther thinks it definitely has a chance this season despite the graduations of all-American linebacker Kyle McGivney and four-year starting quarterback Chris Reynolds.
The Norse open at home today against St. Olaf.
“It’s interesting because every year is a new year,” said Coach Mike Durnin. “The dynamic that has ocurred in our program this year is we lose a marquee player on both sides of the ball. But our juniors and seniors, in particular, have reacted very well to that. They realize that we don’t have Kyle and Chris, and that they all have to ratchet it up and do something.”
Luther finished 3-7 last season, 3-5 in the Iowa Conference and was picked seventh by the coaches in their preseason poll. Dubuque is the obvious favorite, but there appears to be a lot parity within the league.
And a lot of top talent that must be replaced. Luther knows all about that.
“I tell you what, if someone gets out hot, it’s going to make things really interesting,” Durnin said. “I really think one through four could not be decided until that last week of the season.”
Durnin will go with senior lefty Kody Moore at QB. He’s a senior transfer from Division II Minnesota State who threw 31 passes last season.
Four of five starters on the offensive line return, which is a boon. Luther rotates a lot of guys at the receiver and back positions in a no-huddle, shotgun formation.
Adam Bohr, Tyler Holmlund, Dan Ridenour and Alex Hain combined for over 1,000 yards rushing and seven touchdowns in 2011.
Despite the absence of McGivney, Luther is experienced defensively, with three returning starters up front, two at linebacker and three in the backfield. McGivney finished his career as Division III’s all-time leading tackler.
“I’m really happy with the progress of both lines,” Durnin said. “They’ve done a good job of pushing each other … The atmosphere has been wonderful in camp. They’re not worrying about who we don’t have.”
Here are the other Iowa Conference games Saturday: