Friday, August 27, 2004

A return to elite of D-III is the goal

Hallett takes over for Paul

By Colleen Kane
Enquirer staff writer

M O R E   I N F O R M A T I O N
Thomas More schedule
Date Opponent Time
Sept. 4 Hanover 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 at MacMurray TBA
Sept. 18 at Wittenberg 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 Westminster (Pa.) 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Huntingdon (Ala.) 1 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Kentucky Wesleyan Noon
Oct. 23 Anderson (Ind.) 2 p.m.
Oct. 30 Maryville (Tenn.) 1:30 p.m.
Nov. 6 at Rockford 2 p.m.
Nov. 13 Mount St. Joseph 1:30 p.m.
Mike Hallett said he's made a smooth transition to becoming Thomas More's head coach.

The Saints offensive coordinator for five years took over for former head coach Dean Paul, who moved to Ohio Northern, in December. Paul was 40-12 in five years at Thomas More, and Hallett looks to further that success.

He's made few changes, keeping the same staff and his offense while making a few "tweaks" on defense. Hallett brings 13 starters back this year, with the hopes of improving on last year's 6-4 record, the worst in the Paul era.

"We felt we underachieved a little bit for our talent level last year," Hallett said. "We hope to rectify that. We have a great group of returning players, and we feel we can regain the form we feel Thomas More should be known for, which is at the top level of Division III competition."

Offensively, the Saints return most of their skills position players. Juniors Nate Berkley (1,528 yards, 12 TDs) and Seth Ellis (304 yards, 3 TDs) both saw significant time at quarterback last year.

Hallett likes the idea of having multiple signal callers and said the veterans could also split time with newcomers this year. Leading rusher Tyran Thompson (1,122 yards last year), fullbacks Ryan Woodie and Nick Partin, and tight end Dan Schubert return. Top receiver Greg Harris is gone, but Hallett said his returning group runs seven or eight receivers deep. The offensive line, which lost four starters to graduation, will be the biggest challenge.

On the other side, the defensive line looks solid, with returners Gannon Vogelpohl, Luke Scarborough and Dan Ollberding. The linebacking corps also looks solid, led by last year's second-leading tackler Craig Collinsworth (55 tackles, 12 for loss, 3 sacks). The secondary is young, but speedy, Hallett said.

The Saints open with Hanover College, which beat the Saints by three points in overtime in the second game last year. The annual "Bridge Bowl" with Mount St. Joseph will be Nov. 13 at home this year.

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