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Canevin's Nypaver ready for sophomore season at Slippery Rock

| Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, 7:35 p.m.
Bishop Canevin alumnus Kirk Nypaver (61) started eight games for the Slippery Rock football team in 2011. Photo by Randy Jarosz

Kirk Nypaver's first year starting on the Slippery Rock football team had its up and downs - from an injury to a championship game.

The experience of his first season has the redshirt sophomore looking for bigger things in 2012.

"Even though we have a tough schedule and a new offense, we have some good momentum going," Nypaver said. "We lost some guys from last year's team but we have some really good players coming back."

When the Bishop Canevin alumnus initially got to Slippery Rock's campus in 2010, the coaching staff decided to place a redshirt on him, a move Nypaver said allowed him to become more firmly acquainted to the college setting.

"It really helped me get adjusted," Nypaver said. "It allowed me to concentrate on school."

The concentration on his academics led to Nypaver being named a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete, an honor reserved for athletes who compile a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or above.

When the 2011 season rolled around, Nypaver's redshirt paid off as he was named the starting right guard and went on to start in eight games.

Nypaver was injured midway through the season during a 27-13 win over Clarion. He sprained his ankle and missed the following three games.

"I felt that I was playing really well so it was kind of depressing missing those games," Nypaver said. "We have a really good trainer so when I came back, they taped me up really well and I was ready to go."

The Rock had a big season in 2011, compiling an 8-2 mark and winning the PSAC Western Division title.

The team fell in the PSAC Championship game to Kuntztown, 21-14.

As Slippery Rock looks to continue the success from last season, it will be using a new offense. During the offseason, wide receiver coach Phil Longo took over the offensive coordinator role and replaced the power-run style of offense used previously with a high-tempo spread.

"When we ran it in the spring, we all really picked it up pretty well," Nypaver said. "There are a lot more plays than the old offense. Once the play is over, you need to get back to the line and be ready for the next play."

The offensive line will be under going several changes in 2012. Nypaver is one of only two returning starters and he is looking to step into a leadership role.

"The new guys

are really good athletes and I want to help them get comfortable like the seniors did for me last season," Nypaver said.

Despite the changes the team is experiencing, it has high hopes for 2012.

In a preseason poll conducted by the head coaches of the PSAC, Slippery Rock was picked to finish third in the Western Division in 2012. California (Pa.) and Indiana (Pa.) were tied for the top spot in the division.

Despite not receiving a first place vote in the poll, Nypaver feels the Rock is ready to add to last season's success.

"This season we have a very tough schedule," Nypaver said. "There are no games we can slack off. All of the western teams are really good and the three teams we play from the east are really strong. But we'll be ready to play."

Slippery Rock kicks off its season on August 30 as it plays host to Seton Hill.

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