The Student News Site of University of Nebraska at Kearney

The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

Loper defense embracing coach’s ‘win now’ mentality

Tim Schaffner had 51 wins at Butler Community College. Photo by Ethan McCormick / Antelope Staff

A coaching change isn’t the only thing that the UNK football team is adjusting to this spring. The defense is replacing 13 of the top 17 tacklers from last year’s defense. 

Despite all of this change, UNK defensive coordinator Tim Schaffner took the job at UNK because of the program’s culture and his belief that the team is going to continue its winning ways.

“This is a winning program. This team is built to win now,” Schaffner said. “Eighteen wins in two seasons — That’s pretty good. You don’t get many opportunities to come in with a new staff with a program that is built to win. That’s good because expectations here are high. People expect to win.”

The lack of experience on defense would normally be a problem for many coaching staffs, but Schaffner is embracing the change.

“It’s fine because I didn’t know (the previous players) anyway,” Schaffner said. “That’s great because it gives guys the mentality of ‘next man up.’ Because if something happens to somebody in a game or in season or whatever it is ‘next man up.’”

Schaffner’s football experience truly spans all over the world as he played and coached in England for the Essex Buccaneers. His coaching career has included stops at Northwest Missouri State, Eastern New Mexico, Eastern Arizona, Garden City College, Ranger College and New Mexico Military Institute. 

The majority of his experience is at the JUCO level at Butler Community College in Kansas, where he spent 17 years coaching there and served as the head coach from 2015-21. Schaffner then moved to Idaho State last year as the defensive coordinator.

“I learned how to reinstall a defense for the first time,” Schaffner said. “Every year I was at Butler, I knew every guy in the program. I knew them well. I recruited them. I showed up in Idaho and didn’t know anybody. I had to meet those guys and teach our defense.”

Schaffner believes that experience will help him again this year with the Lopers.

“I’m way more comfortable,” Schaffner said. “I know the teaching points to hit on. It’s made my job easier because we have great dudes here. They’re eager to learn and know how to win.”

Schaffner is also coaching the safety position this year, which is the same position he played in college. UNK safety Tre O’Guinn has been impressed with what he has been able to learn from his coach during spring camp.

“I just really like how much knowledge he has,” O’Guinn said. “He’s been at different levels so he can give me different perspectives. It’s been really good to learn from somebody who’s been on all levels of the game.”

The Lopers are going to try to run a defense with chaos tempo, which focuses on being fast and violent while still giving max effort and being accountable.

“We are big on speed and running to the ball,” Schaffner said. “You have to do your job and be sound on your job. If you do that, we’re going to be successful. If you try to do somebody else’s job, any good offense is going to tear you apart.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Antelope

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Nebraska at Kearney . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
GRANT TIGHE, Sports Editor
Donate to The Antelope

Comments (0)

All The Antelope Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *