Butler Kicks Off Spring Football Practice

Butler Kicks Off Spring Football Practice

Spring Practice Schedule

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler will begin its 2011 football bid this week with the first of 15 spring practices on Thursday, March 24.  The Bulldogs will have three practices in the first week and then four practices for three straight weeks, concluding with the annual Blue-White Spring Game on April 16.

Head coach Jeff Voris has to replace last year’s Offensive MVP Matt Kobli and leading rusher Scott Gray, as well as several other key starters.  Kobli played multiple offensive positions for the Bulldogs and wound up second on the team in passing, fourth in rushing and eighth in pass receiving.  Gray led the Bulldogs in rushing for the second consecutive year and for the third time in four years.

Butler also loses All-PFL players Tadd Dombart (DB), Mike Staniewicz (OL) and Donnie Gilmore (OL) to graduation.

But the Bulldogs have a stable of talented players returning, including 2010 Defensive MVP Jordan Ridley, quarterback Andrew Huck and top receiver Zach Watkins.

Ridley, a first team all-league linebacker, led the Pioneer Football League and ranked in the “Top 10” in the NCAA Division I FCS in tackles with 130 (11.8 pg).  He had 10 or more tackles in nine of Butler’s 11 games, including a league-high 17 tackles against Youngstown State.  He led the Bulldogs in both solo tackles (55) and assists (75), tied for the team lead in pass interceptions (2) and finished second on the squad in tackles for loss (9.5).

Huck passed for 1,865 yards and 12 touchdowns, while completing 58.7% of his attempts.  In the past two seasons, the Butler quarterback has thrown for more than 4,000 yards and 33 TD’s.  Watkins has been on the receiving end of many of those aerials.  The talented wide receiver has 147 receptions for 1,621 yards and 13 touchdowns over the past two seasons.  His 10 touchdown catches last season were the second-most in Butler football history.

Also back are six additional players who gained mention on the All-PFL team last year - defensive lineman Ross Teare, punter Michael Wilson, offensive lineman Pete Mattingly, tight end Carter Walley, linebacker Nick Caldicott and placekicker David Lang.

Butler’s spring game will be played at the Butler Bowl at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 16.