Click here, for a photo gallery from Wednesday's first practice of training camp.
MEQUON, Wis. – It was after all, just the first day of practice, but the offense looked efficient, sharp and ready for a productive 2012 season.
Concordia University Wisconsin's football team returns a plentiful amount of weapons and skilled talent on the offensive side of the ball and with sophomore gunslinger Austin Damaschke (Bristol, Wis.) returning, the expectation level is higher than ever.
The 6-foor-2, right-hander is the penciled-in starter after his 16-touchdown performance last season. However, that was last season, and this year the goal is a Northern Athletics Conference championship. The Falcons return over 1,000 yards of rushing and nine players who caught a combined 1,555 yards through the air.
Overall improvement on offense would seem to begin with its second-year signal caller, but then again an efficient offense will win more times than not. Finishing with their highest point total (243) over the last four seasons, the Falcons expect to move the ball down the field and score more points.
"We look at everything statistically and we want everything to go up, of course," offensive coordinator Henny Hiemenz said. "We want to play better every day. We want to be more efficient and stay on the field longer and we do not want to turn the ball over. If that means two points more a game or five more, our job is to gain first downs, score points and win a conference championship."
Two years ago, Hiemenz was hired as the offensive coordinator and as expected, it took the offense time to learn the playbook. At times last season the offense was vanilla because of the learning curve, but with spring practice and a summer of learning under the offensive skilled players' belts, things look to be different this season.
"It will definitely be much easier and more fluid this year," senior wide receiver Erik West (Plymouth, Wis.) said. "Mistakes will happen, but the next guy will know what to do. Having a year with the playbook will not necessarily mean we will score more points, but we will be more efficient. The points will come as we limit the mental mistakes. We just need to stay on pace with offensive game plan and execute."
The system should run easier knowing three running backs who started at one point or another last season, tight end Scott Schieble (senior, Mequon, Wis.) and five receivers who caught 116 passes and 16 touchdowns are back.
"The expectation level is very high for us," Damaschke said. "We feel 100 percent more comfortable with the playbook and our confidence is much higher. We all want the same thing, a conference championship. Our cohesion makes everything run smoothly and this group has the potential to do some memorable things."
The offense was in and out of the huddle with ease during the opening practice of training camp on Wednesday and as the season approaches, all eyes will be on the offense.