Jeff Thorne on defense, running and rotation in North Centrals homecoming weekend victory over the Augustana Vikings.
Adding a blow-out, conference win to their first two victories over ranked opposition, Thorne once again emphasized that his team doesn’t overlook any opponent. He said he was proud of the way his players approached the game with Augustana and took it as a serious challenge.
Despite the Cardinal defense holding their opposition under 10 points for the third time in three games, Thorne said he feels they still have things to work on, particularly not missing tackles. Overall, however, he’s liked what he’s seen on the side of the ball he feels never gets enough credit for its role in North Central’s success.
On offense, the Cardinals once again showed their ability to pick up huge chunks of yardage at any given time, such as on the second play of the game when Luke Lehnen found Ethan Greenfield for a 48-yard touchdown pass. Thorne said that big-play ability is definitely a confidence builder, particularly when they have so many different players who can make that kind of instant impact.
As for Greenfield’s continued success, Thorne said this is what he’s come to expect from the 1st Team All-America selection as Greenfield shows off his versatility. But Thorne also praised the offensive line who make it all happen and the team’s other running backs, including Terrence Hill who had two scores of his own on Saturday, as being just as important.
In the third and fourth quarters, a lot of different North Central players got opportunities with the game well in hand. Seven different Cardinals had at least one rushing attempt, and three different quarterbacks threw passes. Thorne says while they never expect to be up by enough points to do so, it’s nice to have the chance to let younger players get game experience.
As for this week’s game, Thorne pointed to the good work Carroll University’s new coaching staff has done so far that has propelled the Pioneers to a 2-1 start this season.