Men of Excellence Lewis & CLark Football 2018

You’re not just a football player, you’re a man of excellence in everything that you do whether it’s being a student, whether it’s being a good husband, a good father, a good brother, a good son...we truly, truly try to emphasize and make that a part of everything we do...Men of Excellence is the rallying cry for being more than a football player, striving to be the best you can be in everything that you do.
A lot of other places didn’t really treat me like they wanted me to be there. I got here and they made sure I was good, made sure I was comfortable and I was...it just felt like the best spot out of all of those places.
As soon as we see each other, it’s like favorite day of the week is here: Saturday, Saturday, game day.
After breakfast, I kinda just don't talk much until right before we go out for warmups and then I kinda go crazy and yeah...it’s just game day.
Winning habits...Winning is just a result of the other things that you do, throughout the week, throughout the year…
I really just don't see myself playing anywhere else...
It's just a game that requires the most hardworking people to play it. I've never not respected a football player. Every one who suits up to go hit on that field every day...it’s a hard sport mentally and physically...the best players on the field aren't the biggest or the fastest, it’s the smartest players.
Those guys are high-character guys. They're good, loving guys, and I knew that they would bring in a good squad and that’s something I didn't get from every other coach. It just didn't really feel the same.
Because it was Locey and it was a new guy and just by talking to him and being recruited by him I knew that I was gonna be a part of something spectacular. The fact that I would be coming in with his first class and we would be building everything from the ground up, that’s what really enticed me...it’s the thrill of the fight for me, so I chose Lewis & Clark because of Coach Locey, because I knew we would make a positive impact and lay the foundation for the program to rise up, which I think we have absolutely done.
It was a group of incoming freshmen four years ago that made a commitment to join us in our quest. And that was fun to see them grow and develop over a four-year period of time...so that was the joy of having a group that stuck it out through some tough times to get to a point where we all felt like this was gonna be a real launch.
We competed toe to toe with absolutely everyone in the league and I don't think there is anyone that doubts our ability to do so and I'm even more confident that we can do so next year and be successful.
The perseverance, the relentlessness, and showing up day after day at practice and having had a challenging day academically and having a paper holding over their head or a final or a midterm that’s kinda been on their brains, but been able to shut it down and still ball and compete in practice and come back day after day after day believing we’re gonna do something great.
I absolutely believe that they are understanding their value and not allowing a win loss record to define them, but being defined by truly being a person of excellence.
Your coaching has to be super individualized to every player in order for everyone to be as good as they can be. And a lot of that is on you as a coach, to figure out how can I get the most out of this guy, how can I help him be as good as he can be, what does he need from me.
It’s pretty cool when you look back on the whole thing and you look at how relentless they are, the fact that they came for a specific reason four years ago to turn this thing around. Expectations were different than the results, but they haven’t wavered...to watch these guys just keep going, it’s pretty unreal.
Controlling what you can, I think that’s hard to learn as a teen, twenty, twenty-one year old kid. But having the ability to just focus on your effort, your attitude and realizing there’s gonna be a ton of things that are out of your control that you can’t control, but you want to so bad, but you can’t do it and it’s better to just focus on you and what you’re supposed to do.
I absolutely believe that this particular group of guys at LC are the best of the best. We have the most unique squad by far in terms of players. We have such a diverse group, we have such an interesting group. When I think about my close teammates and the other guys on the D-line, those are some of the most interesting guys and I would not trade them for any other squad in this league, just straight up. That really is what my biggest takeaway is. I cherish those guys, I cherish how interesting we are, I cherish those times in the locker room messing around...That is the best part about football.
Maybe one guy on the team is not feeling great about something, but he has this team to lean on and I think that’s super, super powerful and I learned a lot about that this year from this team that no matter what, stuck together. In terms of winning culture, that’s winning culture right there and not every team can say that. That doesn’t always happen.
We're a group that prides ourselves in being good in everything. We're not just football players, we're family men, students. So that’s what I really like about this team...we don’t just care about football, we care about what’s going on in our lives.
I appreciated how open our seniors were. They were like literal older brothers.
Those bonds that I've already made. The seniors are about to leave and I have so many close seniors to me that care about me…
Maybe the stats don’t prove it, but we’ve gotten completely better...There’s been so much improvement, and we’ll continually improve, it’s crazy to see.
It's extremely sentimental, it's the end of an era. Football has been a huge part of my life and it’s probably done now forever, it’s definitely a journey I'm glad I took.
That's gonna be a hard transition for me, to go from being an athlete since I was 6 years old to now, almost 22, and I'm just not gonna be an athlete anymore. I don't know what I'm gonna do...I don't know how I'm gonna deal with that, but I hope that I'm gonna take these life lessons that I've learned through being an athlete and apply those to real life.
I want to be able to go all out and just know that I left everything out on the field on Saturday. When it comes down to it, ten years later, I don't know if I'm gonna remember exact plays. I don't think I'm gonna remember what happened during the game. What it comes down to is I’m probably gonna remember being part of the team and the memories I formed with all of my teammates. But for this weekend, with all that in mind, I can say that I just wanna ball out. I wanna have that memory that whatever happens...that I left everything out on the field because I don't have another chance.
There's huge potential for what this squad is gonna do after I leave.
I can say they’re gonna be my brothers for life.

Family on three

When I came here, I just got a real sense of people care about each other and everyone isn't playing for themselves...


...but playing for something bigger.
It’s kinda like growing up together...going through fall camp, every single day of practice, getting yelled at, crying, bleeding, getting hurt...


...We go to war every single Saturday and I wouldn’t want to go to war with anybody else.
And sometimes you take a step backwards...


...but, boy, you get right back on track because you’ve got to move forward.


Next season starts on Monday.

Created By
Ben Ritter

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