Fantasy Football expert Will Kaback dishes on the Bears’ season

Kaback breaks down the bruisers.
Katerina Papanikolopoulos
Kaback breaks down the bruisers.

Well, it’s that time of year again. The weather begins to change. Leaves go from verdant green to amber, burgundy, and orchard. Of all the trademark signs of autumn, none is more characteristic than the start of the NFL and fantasy football season. As fantasy owners around the world begin to gear up for the coming months—crafting draft strategy, scouting rookies, trash talking other players, etc.—Spectrum is excited to bring you the first Blake Bears fantasy football preview. Get ready for in-depth scouting reports, player interviews, and season predictions. We have insiders on the field watching, sensing, and analyzing each and every move and word from the football team.

Let’s start with the quarterback position. I’m predicting huge numbers from the QBs this year. Whether it’s the aerial attack from Jack Moe ‘18, or the tantalizing ground game from the lightning fast Johnny Ferguson ‘16, if I was an owner, I’d do everything in my power to draft one of these beasts.

On a team full of veterans, the running back role has been filled by two of the hottest prospects to come out of the program in years. According to Stuart Hesdorffer ‘15, Jeff Santelli ‘17 is a guy who can “burst through the middle” and “use his height to gain the extra edge.” Think of him as a 2013 Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte. Thomas Washington ‘18, affectionately called “T-Wash” by many, is one of the most polarizing rushers to hit the field in recent years. His combination of speed, elusiveness and vision present a match up nightmare for opposing defenses. We’re talking LeSean McCoy good. I’m predicting at least 200 yards and two scores a game from this deadly duo—in other words, top five draft pick value.

On the wide receiver side, the team has two obvious workhorses in Hesdorffer and Will Bean ‘17. Will Bean? Love Will Bean. An athletic freak, he enjoys some of the softest hands in the game. Hesdorffer is a man who has seen action on both sides of the ball and as he enters his senior season, you won’t find a more reliable veteran on this side of the Mississippi.

From there we go to kicker and punter, where first year star Johnny Hartfiel ‘17 has been drawing rave reviews for his “golden boot” and top-notch kicker sty. Words of his 40 yard field goals have been spreading like wildfire throughout the Twin Cities and so impressive is his range and accuracy that he is comparable to Blair Walsh of the Minnesota Vikings.

     Finally, my hands tremble as I write just thinking about the speed, ,ferocity,    and power of the Bears

Defense. From a line with NFL level heft and girth, to the nimble and reflexive defensive backs, to the muscular, ball-hungry linebackers, this is a squad of fear inducing ballers. The likes of which haven’t been seen since the 2000 Ravens. If you’re a fantasy owner who values a defense who records stops, interceptions, and fumble recoveries, look no further than this year’s Blake Bears.

     Among the players, captains Hesdorffer, Pierce Carlson ‘15, Cy Pattee ‘15, and Nick “Cheez” Cieslukowski ‘15 were all mentioned as respected leaders and veterans on the field and in the locker room. “Leadership is constant throughout the team,” says Ferguson. But don’t think it’s completely clean off the field. The locker room, for example, is notorious for its abundance of perplexing aromas. Santelli was quoted as saying, “it smells like peanut butter in there…and pads.”

     Besides this, the boys were hyped for the coming season. Of the prospects for the team, Ferguson says, “we’re improving; we’re on the rise.” Meanwhile, Michael Malecha ‘16 says there’s “a lot of camaraderie and friendship on the team.” Some of this can be attributed to the fantastic coaching staff, headed up by Coach John Coatta, called by the players “a great guy” who “doesn’t beat around the bush” and “has the team’s best interests in mind.”

     The freshman class is gathering fame as “one of the most talented, top-end classes we’ve seen in a while,” in the words of Hesdorfer. He went on to say that the freshman have “a lot of talent” and mentioned how “it’s really cool to see the young guys get excited about the game.”

     When I asked the players what game they were most excited for, the resounding sentiment was that both the rivalry matchup with Breck and the last week’s Homecoming game versus Providence promised to be some of the highlights of a stacked schedule.

     With regards to the Homecoming clash, Johnny Ferguson seemed particularly excited. “There are girls, yeah, a lot of them…nothing more fun than that,” he said. For the Breck game, “it’s going to be a battle,” said Malecha.