The Baker Orange

BU football staff, players to participate in national NAIA College Fanz Game

Story by Chris Duderstadt

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The developing success of the Baker football program will have a chance to receive national recognition at 1 p.m. Saturday in the fourth annual NAIA College Fanz Senior Classic in Salina.

Running back Richie Bryant and cornerback Rodney Harris will be playing for the American team, coached by Baker head coach Mike Grossner and other members of the Baker coaching staff.

“I think it’s great,” Bryant said. “One more game with coach Grossner means a lot. Not having to learn a new offense is another advantage of him coaching in the game.”

Baker actually had four players selected to play in the game, but Bryant and Harris will be the only two players able to play Saturday. Quarterback Mack Brown will not play due to teacher education certification testing and kicker Derek Doerfler has the chance to be selected Saturday in the late rounds of the NFL Draft, or be signed shortly after the draft as an undrafted free agent.

The game will feature 29 All-Americans between the two teams.

“To get those guys from all over to come to Salina, Kansas, is a tribute to College Fanz,” Grossner said.

The coaches and players are excited to participate in the game and are excited for each other as well.

“I’m excited for Rodney and Richie,” Defensive Coordinator Jason Thoren said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun to be playing the best of the best of the seniors around the nation.”

The matchup will feature the Baker coaching staff, along with a few Culver-Stockton University coaches, coaching the American team, while the Ottawa University coaching staff will be coaching the National team.

Grossner was slightly surprised to hear the news from College Fanz representative Jason Dannelly that he was picked to coach the American team, but he was very pleased.

“He just called me,” Grossner said. “Jason Dannelly kind of threw it at me in the middle of a discussion.”

Bryant, Harris and the coaching staff will leave Friday morning for Salina in order to participate in an introduction ceremony, a practice and a walk-through both Friday afternoon and Saturday morning before the game.

Scouts from NFL teams will attend the classic, but it could be the last game that many of the seniors play in their football careers.

"It's a really neat deal all around," Thoren said. "Getting to go out with some of our seniors will be really special."<br/>