Valpo U Football Set for 2024 Spring Game

by | Apr 19, 2024 | Football Blogs, Headlines | 0 comments

Valpo Football Set for 2024 Spring Game

The first official glimpse of the 2024 Valparaiso University football team will come on Sunday as the Beacons host their annual spring game at 1 p.m. at Brown Field.

 

Plenty of dates are circled on the 2024 calendar including the Aug. 31 season opener at UNI, the Sept. 14 home opener vs. Indiana Wesleyan, the Sept. 28 conference opener at Morehead State, the Oct. 5 Homecoming game vs. Drake and of course the Hoosier Helmet rivalry game on Nov. 9 at Brown Field. Those dates will arrive before you know it, but right now it’s the 15th and final spring date that has the team’s focus.

 

“Spring is an opportunity for the guys to go out and play football,” head coach Landon Fox said. “A goal as a program is to develop those guys during the winter and put them into some adverse and tough situations where they can develop physically and mentally. In the spring, they get to do what they came here to do, and that’s play football. Spring is also exciting because it’s your first chance to get a look at the football team that you’re going to have in the fall.”

 

With the spring season yet to wrap up, an entire summer of development on the horizon and fall camp still to come, it’s too early for any public distribution of a potential depth chart as plenty of opportunities to compete for spots remain. However, that doesn’t mean that those competitions aren’t well underway with Fox and his staff carefully observing the 14 spring practices leading into Sunday’s spring game.

 

“Spring gives the players an opportunity to put themselves in positions on the depth chart going into fall camp,” Fox said. “No depth chart is set in the spring or even in the fall; those battles are won and lost on the field. We have some really good position battles, and as everyone knows, that starts at the quarterback position. We have a trio of guys who have the potential to be the starting quarterback for us. Those types of competitions bring out the best in each individual, which obviously helps our football team.”

 

Over the last four seasons, Valpo has picked up 14 Pioneer Football League victories, the most in a four-year period in program history. This stretch marks Valpo’s most league wins in a four-year period in any conference since 1961-1964. During the 2023 campaign, the defense ranked among conference and national leaders in scoring defense (24.8, second PFL, 50th FCS), total defense (318.5, second PFL, 22nd FCS) and rushing defense (123.3, first PFL, 28th FCS). The team paced the conference in several special teams categories as well – kickoff return average (23.16, 12th FCS), blocked punts (four, fourth FCS) and punting average (38.22, 25th).

 

“We’ve spent time evaluating what we did well last year,” Fox said. “We were able to play some good defense at times. We’re going to have to challenge ourselves to do that with some different faces in there. Players on our defense will have to reach the standards of what we’ve come to expect from that unit within our football team.”

 

The 2023 season featured seven games decided by seven points or fewer, the program’s most since 1976. Through the 2023 campaign, 25 of Fox’s 52 games as Valpo head coach have been decided by seven points or fewer.

 

“Our emphasis on offense is on becoming a lot more efficient,” Fox said. “We need to have the ability to score more than 17.8 points per game. We are working on making sure that we’re executing at a more consistent level. Consistency is always an emphasis for us on both sides of the ball as we try to eliminate points and score points.”

 

Special teams is also an area with open competition after the graduation of two-year all-league punter Evan Matthes, and competition is also open for field-goal kicking duties.

 

Sunday’s spring game will feature a modified scoring system. The defense will start with a 21-0 lead and there will be four quarters of a 12-minute running clock with the exception of the final two minutes of the second and fourth quarters, which will feature normal clock stoppages. The offense will get six points for a touchdown, one for an extra point, two for a two-point conversion and three for a field goal. The defense can score by forcing a turnover (three points) or by scoring a touchdown (six points). The clock will stop on special teams plays.

 

“The game itself is exciting for the players,” Fox said. “This is the first time that the 2024 team will take the field together in a game situation. The reality is that what we look at as coaches is the 14 practices that you had before that. How consistent are you over those 14 practices? How do you practice for a long period of time? The biggest compliment you can give a player is that you know exactly what he will do when he steps on the field.”

 

The experience of competing in a game environment for the current team is one of three facets for the spring game. The second is the incoming freshmen having the opportunity to come together for the first time as they observe the game.

 

“This is the first time that they’re coming together as a whole group and we get to introduce them to the team as a whole,” Fox said. “Our Big Brother/Little Brother program is an important part of our football program, and the Spring Game offers the incoming freshmen the chance to spend time with their Big Brothers.”

 

The third phase of the spring game is the Junior Day component. A large number of juniors who are considering Valpo will attend Sunday’s game.

 

“We’ll have future Valpo football players coming to campus as part of that group,” Fox said. “This is an opportunity to build relationships as you move forward in recruiting.”

 

ValpoAthletics.com will have a summary of Sunday’s game, photo coverage from the event and a special spring edition of Valpo Football Weekly with Head Coach Landon Fox next week to wrap up the game.

 

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