If Erich Vogelsang plays as well in 2013 as he did in 2012, he’ll have a pretty good season. But it won’t be good enough for him.
Vogelsang is looking to do even more as he prepares for his final season at Centre College. The senior linebacker earned all-conference honors for his play last season, but he said he wants to improve on that performance.
“I feel like that’s the goal for everyone. You always want to do better the next year. There’s always something you can improve,” Vogelsang said. “And I’m the same as everyone. I want to improve all my flaws and just keep going.”
There were few flaws apparent in Vogelsang’s play last year, when he led the Southern Athletic Association in solo tackles, led Centre in total tackles and was named the Colonels’ most valuable defensive player.
He is the only one of Centre’s four 2012 all-SAA first-team honorees who returns this season, and he hopes to lead the defense — and by extension the team — to the kind of season the Colonels expected a year ago, when they finished 6-4 after going 9-2 and reaching the NCAA Division III playoffs in 2011.
“I think we have talent in every position, we’re deep, we have backups that can play at any point,” he said. “I just think if we all start playing to our potential and keep reaching higher and try to get to our goal of a (conference) championship, I think we’ll be ready.”
Vogelsang said he has been doing his part during offseason workouts. One point of emphasis for him has been the “Ali jab,” a moved designed to keep blockers at bay.
“(Using) our hands and being able to get separation from the offensive line and the blockers so we can make a play. I mean, that’s huge for us, because once a blocker gets into us, we’re screwed,” he said. “So that’s a big key, and I’m always trying to improve myself. To get stronger and get faster and stay mentally in the game in the offseason is a big thing.”
Vogelsang spent the summer working in his hometown of Cincinnati for Great American Insurance Group. He worked as an intern in the finance department, gaining valuable experience and making contacts that he said should help him after graduation.
But he said he was counting the days until he could get back to Centre.
“There’s no better place on this planet than Centre,” he said. “I love it here. It’s been a great three years, and I’m looking forward to this fourth one.
He remembers his visit to Centre during his senior year at Elder High School, and he said seeing the school and spending time with the football players is what sold him on coming to Danville.
“Everyone just took me in. They didn’t look down at you as, like, the younger guy,” Vogelsang said. “I knew one guy here, (2013 graduate) Michael Del Prince, who went to Elder, and I stayed with him. He took me around and introduced me to everyone, and I just loved it.”
He said it also helped that there were a number of players on the team from the Cincinnati area.
“I think it helps a lot when youre a freshman, just because your coming into somewhere (unfamiliar),” he said. “It helps a ton to have people coming from the same position you just came from.”
The 5-foot-11, 219-pound Vogelsang came to Centre as a defensive back, but he was moved to outside linebacker and made that position his own. He had 71 tackles — the fourth-highest total in the SAA — including 47 solo tackles, and two interceptions last season.
He is part of an experienced defense that should be an asset for Centre, which opens the season Sept. 7 against Bethany (W.Va.).
“All of us have trust in each other,” he said. “That’s a big key about our defense.”
Vogelsang said he has been looking forward to this season for some time, but he doesn’t want his final year to fly by.
“I hope it slows down a little bit,” he said, “because it’s going way too fast right now.”