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Ben Werner tries to pull in a pass reception as he’s hit by Sevin Davis in a passing drill during the Tigers’ football contact days that were held in New Richmond.

New Richmond football team starts Year One in long-term plan

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This is Year One in the long-term planning of New Richmond football coach Keith Badger.

While this will be Badger’s second official season coaching the Tigers this fall, he was hired last summer, leaving little time for him to implement his long-range goals before the start of the 2013 season.

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With a full off-season to work with his coaching staff and players, Badger has begun implementing his ideas into the football program. One of the ideas was to attend a football camp. After investigating a number of colleges which held camps, Badger decided that the best fit for the Tigers was a camp at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D. The Tigers attended the camp from June 26-29.

Badger said he chose the SDSU camp because it offered the Tigers the most on-field time and the best instruction from SDSU staff members.

“It was awesome. They got coached by college staffs and players from all over. I think it motivated them to get a lot better,” Badger said.

In the three days of the camp, the Tigers got to be part of seven 11-on-11 scrimmages and four 7-on-7 scrimmages. The offensive and defensive lines received group instruction. The Tigers were in a session with two teams from Nebraska, another from Iowa and several from Minnesota, including Minneapolis Southwest and New Prague. Thirty-seven players and seven coaches made the trip. During the second day of the camp, the Tigers were in pads for 12 hours straight.

“From everything I heard (from the players), they enjoyed it. They were tired and sore, but they liked it,” Badger said. “They got more reps in those three days than in a week of practice. It’s all football, no distractions.”

One of the proudest moments from the camp was when the Tigers received “The Jackrabbit Exceptional Team Award.” This is given to one team from each session by a vote of the SDSU staff. It is given to recognize great effort, commitment and discipline.

The camp is part of Badger’s plan to change the mindset within the Tiger program, to one where success is an expectation, not a hope.

The football players have been working on learning more about football since the end of last season. The players have also recruited several players who weren’t part of the team last season to come back to the program.

“The kids are preparing the way we want them to prepare. That’ll make a big difference,” Badger said.

The changes begin in the weight room, where everything is highly structured and little time is wasted.

“That’s an entire school thing. The intensity with how we work is different,” Badger said.

The work being done isn’t just by football players, but athletes in all sports, as the New Richmond coaches are working closely to see more success across the board.

“Our message was, the best college athletes, the best high school athletes, are multi-sport athletes,” Badger said.

One of the biggest steps Badger has taken was done to find leaders in the football program. Last spring he offered a leadership group, where the athletes learned about qualities it takes to be a leader and how to effectively lead a team. There were 13 members of the team who attended every meeting. When the Tigers vote for team captains this fall, it will be from among those 13 who attended each meeting.

There are opportunities for youth players to get in work in improving their football skills. A skills camp for students in grades 5-9 will be held on July 14-17 from 6-7:30 p.m. A youth camp for students in grades 1-8 will be held on July 28-31 from 5:30-9 p.m. For more information on the camps, check the youth football website at www.nryfa.com.

The start of the 2014 football season is less than a month away. The Tigers will open their season with their midnight madness practice, which will start at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 5.

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Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
(715) 243-7767 x242
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