To borrow from 412, we’re checking in with some teams and coaches this fall. Today we have some solid video from Denver… September 16th was their first day of practice, and the Pioneers had a LOT of guys out on the field! When they do dynamic stretching at the beginning, there must be at least 70 guy there. When the DU athletic staff interviews Head Coach Bill Tierney, he mentions that they have a good number of walk-ons and transfers, so maybe that explains the hordes of current Denver lacrosse players. I’m sure many schools are in this situation right now, trying to weed out the guys they’ll keep from those they’ll drop.
Last year, I said Denver and Notre Dame were the future of lacrosse because of how they run their programs. Both teams seem to FIND players that others overlook, and supplement their blue chippers with these guys. But now, with all the success Denver has seen, it seems like players are starting to find THEM at a much higher rate. Sure, it’s only one year, and purely anecdotal but getting around 70 good players out there, who WANT to be there, is rarely a bad thing.
Right now, Denver enjoys being the only NCAA D1 team in the West with a winning reputation. They have a great deal with Warrior, and because of it they get some of the best custom gear available, and are also featured in ad campaigns. This, along with their rapid ascent to the Top 10, will continue to funnel recruits in their direction. Having Bill Tierney as their Head Coach will only increase this flow of talent.
And success RIGHT NOW is important to Denver, or at least it should be. Schools like Michigan and Marquette adding lacrosse means that it can’t be TOO long before teams like Colorado, Colorado State, ASU, BYU and a host of Cali schools start adding NCAA lacrosse programs. And once that happens, it will be easier for Denver to get lost in the shuffle. But if they can make a big name for themselves NOW, keep building their tradition, and maybe even win a couple of national championships before these other schools really get running, they will have a leg up for years. They could be like the Johns Hopkins of the West.
Is this a lot to extrapolate from some practice clips? YOU BET IT IS! But it’s easy to believe in Denver because of the man at the wheel, the players they still have, the support they get from the school, their lacrosse partners, and all that success in 2010. Throw that all together and you’ve got a dangerous team for years. If they can be more than dangerous is not certain, but it’s going to be fun to watch, and find out! 2012 is already shaping up to be a great season.