RICHARD MEAD: FSU’s offense will be elite

RTIII: Ferris State running back Robert Thomas III runs a drill during spring practice. Thomas will lend to an offense that includes quarterback Jason Vander Laan and running back Jahaan Brown.  (Pioneer photo/Richard Mead)

RTIII: Ferris State running back Robert Thomas III runs a drill during spring practice. Thomas will lend to an offense that includes quarterback Jason Vander Laan and running back Jahaan Brown.
(Pioneer photo/Richard Mead)

Bulldogs’ scoring potential will take team to next level in 2015

With spring practices underway for the Ferris State football team, one thing is apparent: the Bulldogs’ offense is going to be fast.

After an undefeated regular season campaign in 2014, it seems Ferris is ready to take the next step towards an NCAA Division II national championship, and it all starts with the offense.

With the “veer” scheme implemented by head coach Tony Annese, the Bulldogs led the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference the past two seasons in total offense, and there’s no signs of it slowing down. With quarterback and 2014 Harlon Hill Award winner Jason Vander Laan back for his senior season, along with some new faces, the Bulldogs offense is poised for another stellar season.

Vander Laan finished 2014 with monstrous numbers, racking up 1,466 yards rushing, and 2,381 yards passing. His 30 passing touchdowns was first in the GLIAC, and his 20 rushing touchdowns was good for second. Modest performance, I know.

Ferris also is returning sophomore running back Jahaan Brown (786 yards rushing), sophomore wide receiver
Shakur Sanders (736 yards receiving) and a bulk of its offensive line from 2014.

Can you hear the collective sigh of despair from every defensive coordinator in the GLIAC? I can.

How can an offense so deep and versatile get better? In step Robert Thomas III.

Thomas, who was a red-shirted freshman last season, has seen a heavy workload at running back in spring practice and should see a good amount of playing time in 2015. His speed and elusiveness has earned him the nickname “Juice” from his teammates and coaches. It’s easy to see why Thomas was Ferris’ feather in their recruiting cap last year. Now it’s just a waiting game to see what the Florida native does when the lights come on.

If you are asking yourself if your “Fear the Veer” t-shirt is still relevant, the answer is yes.

The Bulldogs have every cog needed to have a scoring machine in 2015, it’s just a matter of them executing against the league’s better defenses.

Ferris fans are hoping that this is their year, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be.

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