By Brian Gosset
With the addition of two new coaches, the Northern Arizona University football team looks to build upon their success from the past two seasons.
Two former NFL players, Adam Stenavich and TJ Rushing, join head coach Jerome Souers' staff going forward.
Stenavich replaces Eric Reid as the leader of the offensive line after spending the last two seasons on the University of Michigan staff as a graduate assistant.
"It's a great program; I really like Coach Souers," Stenavich said. "I never met him before until the interviewing process. A lot of coaches that I knew said great things about him. It's a great place to come to with an amazing location, so I was very excited. It's a great fit for me and I'm excited for this opportunity."
Stenavich hopes that he can help his players mold into the offensive lineman he was during his four-year career at Michigan when he was a two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection.
The offensive line looks to build on the rushing game as the Lumberjacks have rushed for 160 yards per game in the last two seasons. They will be without All-Big Sky honoree Kyle Walker this upcoming season, but Stenavich believes that some of the returners can mentor the young guys and make for another successful year in the run game for NAU.
"We have to stick to our staples and improve on the basics and the things we've been good at," Stenavich said. "We also want to continue to develop our younger guys, but I don't see why we can't have the same success if we just keep improving and working hard every day."
On the other side of the ball, NAU brings in Rushing, who replaces Charles Huff as the cornerbacks coach. Rushing comes to NAU after spending 2013 as an assistant secondary coach with Arizona State University.
"I chose to come to NAU because of the success it's experienced," Rushing said. "I met and talked with other coaches about the coaching staff here and they had great things to say about Coach Souers and Coach [Andy] Thompson, and I just want to come and be a part of something great. NAU has a good chance of winning the conference every year and being a contender in the national championship."
As for the cornerbacks, Rushing wants to continue NAU's recent dominance in the conference as well as across the country.
"I just want to help build on the success," Rushing said. "I know they've lost a lot of good players in the past couple of years in the back end, but we have a bunch of guys with a lot of playing time especially at corner. Losing Anders [Battle] is a big deal, but [seniors] Randy Hale, Jr. and Blake Bailey have played well in past years so they'll step in and be just fine."
The secondary helped the defense last season to a conference-best 190.8 passing yards allowed while recording 14 interceptions and recovering 10 fumbles.