Belding coach has QB experience to pass on

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 4:44 pm on Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Belding football coach Joe Schwander, right, works on quarterback fundamentals with Belding varsity player Kole Hart, middle, and a junior varsity quarterback during a practice last week.

BELDING — Belding football coach Joe Schwander knows a lot about the quarterback position.

Schwander — a Rockford graduate — played quarterback for Tri-State University (2002-2003) before transferring and finishing his collegiate career at Hope College (2004-2005).

At Hope, Schwander is is fourth all-time in school history in total offense with 4,851 yards. He is fifth all-time in passing yards with 4,057 yards.

The quarterback background means even a little more pride in trying to develop players at the quarterback position.

“That is some of it, but it’s kind of like pitching in baseball,” Schwander said of the background. “There are certain positions that just demand extra attention. There is just so much skill and technique required before you can even get to the point to start teaching schemes. Is there pride, yes, a little bit. I just love the position.”

It wasn’t long after taking over as Belding coach that Schwander was out on the football field with his quarterbacks Brady Badder and Kole Hart working on fundamentals and technique.

Badder was the Redskins starting quarterback as a junior last year, while Hart was the starting quarterback on the junior varsity team a year ago.

“Both of them are very talented and both are great students of the game,” Schwander said. “They are very coachable and great kids. They are two of our better athletes in the entire program.

“It takes a lot of time. Those two are special kids and very passionate about football,” he added.

Fundamentals was the starting point for Schwander this summer. Schwander said fundamentals come before schemes.

Belding quarterback Brady Badder works on proper throwing technique during a practice last week.

“I didn’t get the chance to do what I normally do because of trying to get everything else in place,” Schwander said. “We have some work to do with the quarterbacks in getting caught up in schemes, but the big thing needed at first was fundamentals.”

Despite the attention to the quarterbacks and the position background that doesn’t mean the Redskins are now a throwing team. In the past, Belding in the Wing-T offense, has been majority run for a long time.

“By no means is our plan to say we have to throw the ball half the times or a quarter of the time,” Schwander said. “You have to take what the defense gives you. We will look to see what formations we can get an advantage in and go from there. It’s new, but the kids are picking it up and it’s fun for them.”

Throwing the football is abundant in the NFL and even in college football now. But to Schwander, the key will still be running the ball.

“That’s how football is now (throwing). From the NFL on down it’s a throwing league,” Schwander said. “The bottom line, in high school football especially, if you’re going to win football games you have to run the football. If we can do that effectively then we will win some games.”

Belding will be hosting its annual steak/chicken fry and will open their new football stadium on Friday between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Multiple events will be held Friday including an open practice.

The Redskins travel to Greenville to open the season on Aug. 24. Their first home game is Aug. 30 against Lake Odessa Lakewood.

Hope all-time leaders

Total Offense

Phil Butler     2000-03     8,810

Jake Manning     2005-08     6,855

Greg Heeres     1981-84     4,978

Joe Schwander     2004-05     4,851

Chris Feys     2008-10     4,601

Brandon Graham     1994-97     4,449

J.D. Graves     1997-00     4,403

Jake Manning     2005-07     4,319

Yards Passing

Phil Butler     2000-03     8,510

Jake Manning     2005-08     6,930

Greg Heeres     1981-84     5,120

Chris Feys     2007-10     4,118

Joe Schwander     2004-05     4,057

Justin Wormmeester     1995-98     3,985