STORM LAKE, Iowa | Although there are some players on the Buena Vista University football roster with experience, expect a youth movement under first-year head coach Grant Mollring the next couple of seasons.
Mollring comes to BVU from Hastings College, where he served as offensive coordinator the past three seasons. His Great Plains Athletic Conference roots run deep as before that Mollring spent four seasons as Doane's offensive coordinator.
“We’ve got some talent, our defensive line has played a fair amount of football and are a pretty talented group,” Mollring said. “Just about every position we have guys who have played that after going through spring ball I am pleased with. I think they can set the tone for the young guys.
“But the next two years there’s going to be a youth movement for us. We have roughly 43 freshmen coming in and have to get them up to speed. We have 14 seniors and I think about 12 of them are going to be starters. Once we get these guys settled in we’re going to be playing a lot of young guys.”
It’s the first collegiate head coaching job for Mollring, a native of Cambridge, Nebraska, and University of Nebraska-Kearney graduate. He was a graduate assistant at UNK and then coached at Eustis-Farnam (Neb.) High School before moving on to the college ranks.
“As an assistant I felt like I had a pretty good idea of how much goes into it but until you actually are in this chair, you don’t realize how much it is,” Mollring said. “I don’t think any coach has much patience but we have to understand we’re changing the culture and building things a little differently in terms of how we’re going about it. We recruited a little bit out of state which isn’t ideal, but with the time frame we had that’s what we were able to accomplish.
“(Athletic director) Jack Denholm and I have talked and his goal is that every program at BVU is at least in contention for a conference championship in four years. I don’t think we’re going to shy away from saying that’s what our goal is.”
Mollring was named BVU's coach in January, taking over for Jay Anderson, who resigned after 11 seasons.
He has the luxury of a veteran quarterback set to take controls of a new up-tempo offense in junior Cole Miller. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder from Hampton-Dumont passed for 1,497 yards and 16 touchdowns, including a single-game school record 409 yards against Loras. Miller also rushed for 262 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior T.J. Lint hauled in 46 catches for 646 yards and three scores, while Charlie Flickinger, a high school teammate of Miller’s, had 25 receptions for 372 yards and six touchdowns.
The offensive line will be anchored by returning starters Joe Thraen, a 6-1, 290-pound senior from IKM-Manning and Mason Smith, a 6-3, 345-pound senior from Smithville, Missouri.
Former Spirit Lake, Iowa, prep Nick Amundson charted 71 tackles and three interceptions from his safety spot while senior linebacker Brady Illg from Spencer, Iowa, had 52 tackles and two interceptions.
Griffin Reding (56 tackles, 5 pass breakups) is another returning starter at defensive back, while Quamaree Harris and Mason Frost are veterans up front. Harris, a 6-1, 260-pound senior from Boone, Iowa, had 43 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season.
The Beavers play their first game under Mollring on Aug. 31 at home against Mayville State. They then have two weeks to prepare for their Iowa Conference opener against Central on Sept. 16.