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New coordinator eager to jump-start Falcons offense

April 5, 2007

The UW-River Falls football program went on the offensive Tuesday when former UW-Whitewater offensive coordinator Stan Zweifel became the newest member of the Falcons coaching staff.

Zweifel coached the Warhawks offense since 1991, winning the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association assistant coach of the year award in 1997.

“He is so highly respected all over the state,” Falcons head coach John O’Grady said.

Zweifel is also a UWRF alumnus.

“It is rare that an opportunity presents itself to hire a man of Stan Zweifel’s talents and abilities,” athletic director Rick Bowen said in a April 3 press release. “I am extremely excited to bring Stan back to his alma mater as UW-River Falls offensive coordinator. Stan’s ability as a coach and a recruiter will reap immediate benefits to our football program. This is an exciting time for our University and football program; a first step in our commitment to bring winning football back to UW-River Falls.
I think Coach Zweifel will make an immediate impact. Falcon Coach John O’Grady and I are very excited to welcome him to UWRF.”

Zweifl played wide receiver for the Falcons from 1970-73 and led the team in receiving twice and also in scoring during his senior season.

“I’m really excited about getting back to my alma mater,” he said.

Zweifel played with O’Grady during the 1972 and 1973 seasons. He also worked as a graduate assistant for the Falcons under former head coach Mike Farley in 1974 during O’Grady’s junior year.

“He and I have been as close of friends as I’ve had in my life,” O’Grady said. “He offered me my first full-time job [in coaching at Yankton College, SD].”

Their friendship had nothing to do with the hiring of Zweifel, O’Grady said.

Last year was the Falcons first season using the zone offense that Zweifel literally wrote a book on. The book, titled “Coaching Football’s Zone Offense,” was written in collaboration with recently-retired Warhawks head coach Bob Berezowitz and current defensive coordinator Brian Borland. Zweifel has also produced multiple instructional videos and DVDs on the zone offense.

The Falcons current offensive scheme put into place last season was a replica of the one Zweifel ran at Whitewater, O’Gardy said.

Zweifel will take over a Falcons offense that averaged 13.1 points per game last season. Fans should expect that number to increase, he said.

“He’s got 16 years of experience running [zone offense],” O’Gardy said. “We ought to be better.”

The Warhawks averaged 36.1 points and ranked ninth in Division III under Zweifel last season.

“It’s one of the reasons we installed the [zone] offense,” O’Grady said, regarding its effectiveness for the Warhawks.

Zweifel said one of his goals is to put more of an emphasis on the passing game and balanced out the run-pass ratio. Last season the Falcons’ ratio was more than 3-to-1 in favor of running plays.

“It will be a much more wide open offense than you’ve seen in the past,” Zweifel said.

The run-pass ratio for the Warhawks offense under Zweifel in 2006 was 1.3-to-1.

The offense will also utilize more one-back sets, which will spread the field and open up the offense.

Falcon junior wide receiver Josh Grover said he is excited about Zweifel joining the coaching staff. He has known Zweifel for a few years, having competed against his son in high school and against the Warhawks for the past three seasons.

“Zweifel’s well known because [his teams] put up numbers,” Grover said. “When it comes down to it, he wins games.

The new wide-open attack could draw in a wider base of recruits, both O’Grady and Zweifel said.

“I think our offense attracts more big play people,” Zweifel said. “And I think we can do that at UWRF.”

One of the reasons Zweifel said he decided to leave UW-Whitewater was that he felt as though their football program was headed in the wrong direction. The Warhawks replaced Berezowitz, who had served as head coach since 1985, with former quarterback and assistant coach Lance Leipold. Berezowitz had led the team to (a number goes here, I presume) runner-up Division III finishes the past two seasons. Zweifel had applied for the Warhawks’ head coaching position. His being passed over in favor of Leipold led to his decision to apply at UWRF.

“I think [UW-Whitewater] made a terrible mistake and it was time to move on,” Zweifel said.

Whitewater’s loss is the Falcons’ gain.

“I think they made a major blunder,” O’Grady said. “I think we’re gonna get this program back winning football games a lot faster with him here.”

There is no bitterness whatsoever towards UW-Whitewater, Zweifel said. But he is already looking forward to the Falcons Oct. 6 matchup against the defending WIAC champion Warhawks in Whitewater.

“You always want to beat the best,” he said. “I want us to be back on top of the conference. Like in the glory days of the ‘80s and ‘90s.”

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