Belding football continues to progress with new coach

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 4:42 pm on Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Belding head coach Joe Schwander gives instruction to his quarterbacks and running backs during Wednesday’s practice. The Redskins open the season Aug. 24 at Greenville.

BELDING — For the first time in more than a decade the Belding Redskins football team began its season preparations for a new coach.

Rockford native Joe Schwander has assumed the head coaching duties and has been working tirelessly since to improve and at the same time continue the Belding football tradition.

“Our big thing is installing schemes. Everything is new for our guys right now,” Schwander said. “It’s good for us. If this was year four or five teams start to get frustrated not having pads on, but for us it’s been huge with so much to install.”

Schwander said his team has been learning the new systems well.

“The energy and tempo has been up,” Schwander said. “Kids are kids. If you’re patient they will learn what ever you teach them. As long as you break it down and give it to them in bites they will learn it. It’s no different than in the classroom.”

The Redskins (3-6 in 2011) will be switching from the Wing T offense to the Straight T.

“There is a lot of similarities. If I was a spread coach I think there would be a lot of differences for them,” Schwander said. “The Straight T and the Wing T have a lot of the same blocking principals. There are a lot of similarities, but at the same time we have new terminologies.

“It hasn’t been overwhelming by any means, but at the same time it’s new,” he added.

Belding’s Curtis Rich, right, and Justin Shepard work on defensive line drills at practice on Wednesday.

Today is the first day teams are allowed to practice in pads. For Belding that means hitting with a  focus on fundamentals.

“We will hit. The big thing is you’re working on fundamentals,” Schwander said. “Fundamentals will be a big emphasis on day one of pads. We will make sure where they are at, but we will be smart about it too and want to make sure the kids are healthy when they leave.”

Schwander is enjoying his time in his first head coaching duty.

‘It’s been a blast,” Schwander said. “We are working hard on a lot of things with a lot of enthusiasm from a lot of people. It’s exciting with the small town atmosphere and a lot of people are excited about Belding football.”

Redness Field has also experienced a change as new field turf has been installed to replace the natural grass surface. The project is still being completed and will be done in time for the season.

“It’s not done yet, but they are working hard on it,” Schwander said. “They are working on the numbers and end zones and then the sand and rubber has to go down.”

The Redskins will scrimmage on Aug. 16 at Forest Hills Eastern. The junior varsity will play at 4:30 p.m. and the varsity at 7 p.m.

The Belding Football Festival will take place on Aug. 17 from 5 to 8 p.m. The traditional steak fry will be held along with the grand opening of the turf field. Other events are set to place like an open practice, team introductions.