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John M. Steiner Sun File Photo Quarterback Beau Eriksson earned all-conference honors as a sophomore last season for the Jimmies.

Coming together: Jimmies’ schedule set; recruiting in high gear

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Coming together: Jimmies’ schedule set; recruiting in high gear
Jamestown North Dakota 121 3rd St NW 58401

It’s a busy time in the football offices at the Larson Center.

University of Jamestown head coach Shawn Frank recently firmed up the 2014 schedule and recruiting is in full swing, although it really never ends.

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Also beckoning down the road, they hope, is spring practice. Although, after last year’s never-ending winter forced spring ball to be canceled altogether, Frank and his staff are simply hoping for the best.

“That’s as fluid as a ball-point pen,” Frank joked about spring ball, still a couple months away. “I don’t know why I do it, but I looked at the 10-day forecast again today. … I guess we’ll just have faith and hope that things eventually get better.”

Putting the 2014 schedule together was less painful than recent years. With the North Star Athletic Association in place, it provided five games against conference opponents. The Jimmies will play Valley City State, Mayville State and Dickinson State twice. The first meeting between the Jimmies and Vikings will come under the lights on Thursday, Aug. 28 at Shelly Ellig Field.

Concordia remains on the slate. The Cobbers will be here Sept. 6. Waldorf College of Iowa will make their debut trip to Jamestown on Sept. 20. Dakota State and Presentation College, NSAA league members, are road games in October.

“It was much easier and that can be directly attributed to the stability we have within the conference,” Frank said of piecing the schedule together.

Playing three teams twice is no big deal, either.

“The Frontier Conference has done it forever,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with it. It gives us another chance to play our geographical rivals, which I think there are a lot of positives to.”

The Jimmies and Vikings each went 3-1 and shared the initial NSAA championship last season. The season-opener in August won’t count in the conference standings, but the game the homecoming game on Sept. 27 here will.

“I think it’s really important for the short- and long-term success of the program that we play a competitive, challenging schedule and that’s what we have in front of us.”

Offseason program

Five of the Jimmies seven all-conference players graduated, but junior-to-be quarterback Beau Eriksson headlines a nice returning nucleus. They could return four of five starters along the offensive line, including all-conference pick Jared Steinberger of West Fargo.

The offseason training program is focused on increased strength and explosion.

“We’re taking a bottom-up approach,” Frank said. “Our movement skills, overall quickness are areas we’re really honing in on.”

Recruiting trail

Frank was upbeat about the players signed so far, although the list continues to evolve.

National signing day is Wednesday, Feb. 5, and there’s always a trickledown effect on NAIA programs.

“The NCAA date is right around the corner and that tends to alter the landscape both positively and negatively,” said Frank, entering his third year as head coach. “The young men we have committed and have gotten verbals from want to be Jimmies, but clearly, our work is not done yet.”

Frank said the offensive line is an area of focus. It usually is for most programs as big guys are hard to find.

“They don’t grow those kinds of kids on trees. They’re tough to find, but we like where we’re at right now with who we have and who’s still out there,” Frank said.

They’ll also been able to mine players from new areas.

“We’ve made some in-roads at high schools and institutions we haven’t before,” Frank said. “We’re ahead of where we were last year in terms of depth and quality and we’re going to keep grinding away at it.”

Super Bowl pick

Frank, a diehard Steelers fan, has little interest in Sunday’s game, although did admit, “us football junkies tune in and watch, right? That’s what we do.”

Instead, he was still lamenting a lost season by the Black and Gold, saying he knew it’d be a long season early.

“Well, when you lose to the Vikings, I mean, that pretty much sums it up,” he said. “They made their bed and had to sleep in it.”

Seeing Peyton Manning win his second ring would be fine with Frank.

“You have to admire what he does and how he does it,” the coach said.

College Football

University of Jamestown

2014 Schedule

August

Date Opponent   Time

30 at Valley City State  6 p.m.

September

6 Concordia College  1 p.m.

20 Waldorf College (Iowa)  1 p.m.

27 VCSU (HC)  1 p.m.

October

4 at Dickinson State  2 p.m.

11 at Dakota State  1 p.m.

18 Mayville State  1 p.m.

25 at Presentation College  1 p.m.

November

8 at Mayville State  1 p.m.

15 Dickinson State  1 p.m.

Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701)                  952-8460 or by e-mail at dselvig@jamestownsun.com

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Dave Selvig
Selvig has been a sports writer at The Sun since 1999 and sports editor since 2009.
(701) 952-8460
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