Paving The Way
Sept. 9, 2006
By Jim Wrobel
Special to GoHolyCross.com
Seniors Eric Gendron and Andrew Schoepfer bring intensity, dedication and the will to work as hard as possible to keep moving Holy Cross football in a positive direction. These traits are very important in an offensive lineman, which is one reason why they are both major parts of the Crusader football program returning to its winning ways.
Last season, the Holy Cross offensive line paved the way for the Crusaders to average 329.8 yards of total offense and 28.8 points per game. Both players have high expectations for this year's group of linemen. "Our goal is to win the Patriot League championship," said Schoepfer. "To do that we want to be one of the most physical offensive lines in the league, so we can control the tempo of the game." As seniors they have a sense of excitement to want to have a memorable senior season together. "The seniors have a real good bond and we want to have a successful season," said Gendron.
The team is looking to carry over last season's winning attitude to this season. "Winning is a learned behavior, if you know how to win you can do it in the future, so teaching the freshman how to win is the important thing," said Schoepfer. "Practices are more fun now that we're a winning team," said Gendron. "I am confident this attitude will carry over to this season."
Both players credit the coaching staff in helping them improve in different ways. Schoepfer has seen his footwork and technique get better, while Gendron has seen his flexibility improve and sees himself as more disciplined. The two also credit offensive line coach Mike Pedone with helping them become better players. "He has been a big influence on my style of play, doing little things, getting steps right, working drills over and over, and watching films," said Schoepfer. "Coach Pedone has made me a more refined and disciplined player," said Gendron. "He's a great coach and a great person who you can always talk to."
A native of Waterford, Conn., Schoepfer started playing football at age seven. He is coming off an outstanding junior year that saw him named to the All-Patriot League second team and he received third team All-Northeast Region honors from Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette. He has a wealth of experience as he has made 25 starts, including each of the Crusaders' last 23 contests. Gendron appreciates what Schoepfer brings to the team. "Andrew has the most starts and has a lot of knowledge," said Gendron. "He's a real tough kid on the field and a good role model for the younger kids."
Schoepfer chose to attend Holy Cross because of its strong reputation for both academics and athletics. "I had a great feeling after talking to the coaches and I liked the style of coaching," said Schoepfer. His hard work ethic has been influenced by coach Gilmore, and he credits coaches Patenaude and Griffin as positive influences in his life. Schoepfer also views his parents as very positive role models, which includes the support they give him by attending almost every game.
A Political Science major, Schoepfer plans on pursuing a career in athletic administration with a stress towards sports marketing. His dream job would be to be an athletic director at a middle to upper level school.
Gendron, a native of Warwick, R.I., was a state wrestling champion at Veterans Memorial High School and did not play football until his freshman year in high school. He brings a lot of passion to the football field which has impressed his teammate. "Eric is a very intense player," said Schoepfer. "He brings a more vocal side to the offensive line."
Gendron points to his mother as the most positive influence in his life as well as his grandfather. "My mom, who is a single mother, worked a lot to give us the same life we always had," said Gendron. "My grandfather also always made sure you appreciate what you have."
Most athletes have a pre-game ritual to get focused for the game and Gendron is no different except his is pretty unique. "Before every game, both home and away, I listen to the Pink Floyd album The Wall in its entirety," said Gendron. "It calms me down and pumps me up at the same time, it is hard to explain, but it gets me focused on the game." The classic 1979 rock opera concept album runs at a time of 1:21:29.
A psychology major, Gendron is very proud of his decision to attend Holy Cross. "I will take away much more than an education," said Gendron. "I will take away a strong work ethic."
Both student-athletes will leave Holy Cross football with fond memories as they each look at last season's 13-10 win at Lehigh in a driving rain storm as their most memorable sports moment. But, with their senior season now upon us, Schoepfer and Gendron will be looking to add more special memories.
This story originally appeared in the September 9 edition of the Holy Cross Gameday program, for the contest between the Crusaders and Northeastern. To order a copy of the program, click here.