March 18, 2012

Butler Begins Spring Football Practice March 23

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler will kickoff its 2012 football bid this week with the first of 15 spring practices on Friday, March 24.  The Bulldogs will have at least two practices each week for five straight weeks, concluding with the annual Blue-White Spring Game on April 21.

Head coach Jeff Voris will be looking to replace several key players from last year’s squad, including the standout passing combination of wide receiver Zach Watkins and quarterback Andrew Huck.  Watkins, a first team All-Pioneer Football League pick, finished his career as Butler’s all-time leading pass receiver.  He set Butler single season records for receptions (80) and receiving yards (1,044) in 2011 and finished with career marks for both catches (254) and receiving yards (2,994).

Huck finished second on Butler’s all-time list for passing yards with 6,560 career yards.  He also wound up second all-time at Butler with 53 career touchdown passes.  The three-year starter, who helped lead the Bulldogs to an 11-1 record in 2009, passed for 2,241 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2011.

Butler also has to replace graduated All-PFL players Pete Mattingly (OL), Nick Caldicott (LB), Grant Hunter (DE), Andy Dauch (DB), Jordan Koopman (WR) and David Lang (PK).

On the plus side, Voris can look to six returning All-PFL performers, including two-time, first team All-League linebacker Jordan Ridley.  The senior-to-be has led the PFL in tackles for two consecutive seasons, and he’s ranked in the “Top 10” in the NCAA Division I FCS in tackles for two straight years.  Last season, Ridley finished with 140 total tackles, including a league-high 94 assists.

Also back from last year’s All-PFL team are running back Trae Heeter, tight end Matt Jenson, offensive linemen Matt Storey and Jay Howard and defensive back Sean Grady.  Heeter led the Bulldogs in rushing in 2011 with 713 yards, while Grady tied for the team lead in pass interceptions with three.  Storey and Howard each started all 11 games last fall.

Butler’s spring game will be played at the Butler Bowl at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 21.  The Bulldogs also will host the Second Annual High School Coaches Clinic on Friday, April 13.

Butler Spring Practice Schedule
March 23 - Practice #1, 4 p.m.   
March 24 - Practice #2, 10:45 a.m.   
March 26 - Practice #3, 7 p.m.   
March 28 - Practice #4, 7 p.m.   
March 30 - Practice #5, 4 p.m.   
March 31 - Practice #6, 10:45 a.m.   
April 4 - Practice #7, 7 p.m.   
April 6 - Practice #8, 4 p.m.   
April 9 - Practice #9, 7 p.m.
April 11 - Practice #10, 7 p.m.
April 13 - Practice #11, 4 p.m., 2nd Annual High School Coaches Clinic
April 14 - Practice #12, 10:45 a.m.
April 18 - Practice #13, 7 p.m.
April 20 - Practice #14, 4 p.m.
April 21 - SPRING GAME, 10 a.m.