USD Football 1991

THE LITTLE TIME erees and a liule less emphasis on practice and film time. Though he played against smaller players. he believes the experience helped him.

··1 had 10 stay lower against the li11le guys, and when I played against bigger guys, I was so used to staying low, I had an advantage," he explained. "The smal ler players are quicker, so that helped me with my hand placements and my footspeed." Despite his success, Postmus is a bit of a rarity among small-college players. The majority that make it 10 the pros play the skill positions. like running back, wide receiver or defen sive back. Beefy high schoolers get major-college auention, leav- ing the smaller prospects for the rest. In order to get professional auention. a small- college lineman must dominate nearly every play and then wow the scouts at a combine. That should earn a low-round draft selection or free-agent signing. ··1t's a two, three or four-step process,"' Juli ff said. For backs and receivers, there's only one main criterion-speed. Run a consistent 4.3-second 40-yard dash. and you·11 fi nd work. Of course, the professional develop- ment process may take a liule longer, due to level of competition. but the message is clear: the pros want speed. ··Jeff Query of Millikin University was drafted in 1990 by the Packers in the fifth round. and you could wake him up in the middle of the night, and he'd run a 4.3," said Dan Shonka of the National Football Scouting Organization in Tulsa, one of the NFL"s main talent evaluators. "'When the smoke clears. the fast guys are left.'" Despite the occasional Postmus or Query. small-college rosters are short on behe- moths and burners but long on desire. Some players receive some I-A interest as high school seniors but don·1get the same "can"t miss billing as some blue-chip recruits. They choose the smaller school route to get more playing time and escape some of the demands of life at a factory. Redshirt freshma n linebacker Chad Pundsack chose North Dakota State over Wyoming, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois because of its proximity to his home in Albany. MN. His brother. Dick, is a defensive lineman for the Bison and his sister. Cheri. plays volleyball there. Chad will see some playing time this year and anticipates starting during his final three seasons. ··1 don·1 want to go somewhere and just watch others play." Pundsack says. ··1 talked to a couple of guys on our team who've transferred from big schools, and they said the big-time isn·1 worth it. You don·1 have much time to yourself. and foot- ball isn't fun."' Small-college football isn't a parade of laughs. Practices are tough. players have

J ackson State put Walter Payton on the map, or was it the other way around'/

plenty of responsibilities. and no mauer what the level. the fans want to see win- ners. "Our coaches have a lot of pressure on them: · DSU's Reszka said. "The fans expect us to win all the time:." The winning isn 't done on such a grand scale. Ascend to the Division II or Ill title game. and you 11 get on television. That"s about the extent of it. As a result. there isn·1 as much money available. That means smaller weight rooms. less-extravagant trav- el and few of the amenities found in 1-A. ··J have a lot of friends who play at the University of Miami." said Tim Lester. an Eastern Kentucky senior running back who grew up in Miami. "The main difference between Eastern and there is money. We win just as much as they do." Lester. who overcame knee surgery as a sophomore to rush fo r more than 1.100 yards last season. is a big part of that suc- cess. The 5-10. 210-pounder has already auracted the interest of pro scouts. thanks to Eastern Kentucky's winning tradition (five EKU players were on the 1990 pro roster). and looks forward to earning a spot in next year's FL draft. ··we're going to play Louisville this year. and I want to show everyone I could have played Division 1-A football." Lester said. ··But I'm enjoyi ng myself here. I wouldn't change for anything."" And that seems to be the overriding

"The coaches here are more open ... you can go into their offices and just shoot the breeze, talk about football or life." theme among small college players. Sure. many of them yearn for a shot at the big time. and some hope to continue on to play professionally. But football isn·1 a job to the majority: it's part of the collegiate experience. ··one of the things I like most about play- ing here is my relationship with the coach- es... Reszka said. "At Northern Illinois. we knew the coaches on a professional basis. We'dsee them at practice or at meetings. and that was it. The coaches here are more open. Sure. they want to win. but you can go into their offices and j ust shoot the breeze. talk about football or life:· Away from the screaming crowds. •• • -DanReszka

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