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At the conclusion of every season, head coach Al Groh and his staff take time to evaluate the team’s operation and make any changes necessary to continue the team moving in the desired direction. He’s not going to make changes, just for the sake of making changes, however.

“Our general plan, the template that we have in place, remains somewhat constant,” Groh said. “If you’re jumping around all the time, you have 30 new ideas every year, then obviously your philosophy is one of change and that’s the only way it can be defined.

“There is some continuity in how we do things but we have conducted a little bit different camp each particular year to accommodate what that particular team needed to get ready for the season.

“For example, this year because we have no field goal kickers who have ever kicked in a game, we’ve done live field goals every day. In past years perhaps we didn’t do field goals every day or if we did them … (for instance) Connor Hughes going into his fourth year, he kicked a lot of them in games, so we didn’t do those field goals live. Every field goal that we’ve kicked this year has been under full game pressure. We’ve kicked every day in training camp.”

The battle for the kick scoring duties between redshirt freshman Chris Hinkebein, former soccer player Yannick Reyering and freshman Robert Randolph continues as all three show progress.

“They had a good day (Tuesday),” Groh said. “As I recall, we made every kick with all of the kickers participating. As I had said way back in the beginning, it wasn’t very positive in the spring (because) we didn’t make very many. Now between the three (kickers) we’re making quite a few, so it continues to be more hopeful.”

Other decisions are firming up when it comes to special teams.

“I think we’re pretty sure who our return me are going to be,” said the head coach. “We’ve got a number of our coverage positions nailed down; we still have some that are in question. We’re working towards finality in a number of those spots.”

Continual Evolution of the Roster
Last year’s team adopted the “Next Man Up” motto to use whenever a player was injured and had to miss a game. Whether it be Mikell Simpson filling in for Cedric Peerman in the backfield or the shuffling on the offensive line caused by Eugene Monroe’s midseason injury, the Cavaliers did a remarkable job of finding ways to turn setbacks into positives.

This philosophy applies not only to injured playersit also applies when players graduate and move to the next stage of their lives.

“Even the player who’s never been injured and doesn’t miss a practice or a game, eventually is missing from the team through natural attrition,” Groh said. “I think it’s to everybody’s benefitstaff and playersto understand that everybody we have is here for a very limited period of time. We’re all conditioned (so that) sooner or later somebody else has got to move into that position.

“We’re always of the mentality to be developing that replacement before he’s needed so that when he comes into that circumstance he’s properly prepared. Sometimes, obviously, we can see that circumstance coming and it puts a little bit more priority on it.

“I think the players see that. Players see it every year. They are used to certain guys not being here.”

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