|by Brent Harris • October 14, 2005|
None of the 60 Wabash football players who boarded the buses to take the team to Wooster, Ohio had any idea there would be a slight detour in their Friday afternoon trip. The undefeated Little Giants took a break from their trip for Saturday’s game to listen to former Wabash and NFL player and current Indianapolis Colts assistant coach Pete Metzelaars ’82 and view the Union Federal Football Center, the Colts’ practice facility.
Metzelaars, the offensive quality control coach for the 5-0 Colts, spoke to the team Friday afternoon at the end of the first of two practices by the NFL squad. (See photo album on the visit to the Colts practice facility.)
The Wabash players, with the number-two scoring defense in Division III, got the opportunity to watch members of the top defense in the NFL go through drills to prepare for Monday night’s game against the St. Louis Rams. The Little Giants stood on the sidelines, silently watching Indianapolis All-Pro defensive end Dwight Freeney work on the moves that have made him one of the top players in the league.
"I tried not to look like a tourist, but it was so amazing to be in that facility, watch the end of practice, and to hear from Coach Metzelaars," said sophomore defensive lineman Justin Gardiner.
Freshman Josh Gangloff echoed those sentiments.
"This is unreal. I can’t believe how big the players are," he added as kicker Mike Vanderjagt walked by in the parking lot as the team was departing. "He (Vanderjagt) is as big as our tight ends. You have no perspective until you see them up close."
After the defensive unit left the field, the Wabash players got the chance to step onto the field turf. After ten minutes of running and throwing mixed with a series of picture-taking, the team gathered around Metzelaars near the sideline.
"Something we talk about all the time with the Colts is getting better," Metzelaars told the Wabash players. "Don’t worry about the game, don’t worry about the scores, don’t worry about any of that other stuff - focus and concentrate on you getting better every single day."
Metzelaars had the undivided attention of the team. Each player stood mesmerized by the surroundings and the 16-year pro football veteran who played in four Super Bowls with the Buffalo Bills.
"If you’re improving all the time and you’re improving throughout the season individually, then the team will continue to get better," Metzelaars said in his final comments to the team..
"As you approach this game with Wooster and go through the rest of the season, my encouragement to you is to hold yourself accountable and to get better every single day."
With that the 5-0 Little Giants boarded their two buses and returned their focus to Saturday’s North Coast Athletic Conference matchup against the 4-1 Scots.
Top Left: The Wabash players listen intently to the words of former Little Giant tight end Pete Metzelaars '82. Metzelaars is in his second season as an assistant coach for the Indianapolis Colts.
Right: Seniors Brandon Roop and Russ Harbaugh chat with Metzelaars while touring the Indianapolis Colts practice facility Friday afternoon.
On homepage: Sophomore offensive lineman Brian Hilts thanks Metzelaars before the Little Giants leave for Wooster.