By DOUG DONNELLY
OTTAWA LAKE – Lucas Tesznar was looking forward to spring practice as a chance to move up the Eastern Michigan University depth chart.
With spring ball all but canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Whiteford graduate is now turned his attention to late summer workouts and fall camp.
“Not having spring practice makes it tough,” said Tesznar, who anchored the offensive line for Whiteford’s 2017 state championship team. “I felt like last spring was a good time for me because I had a chance to prove myself. With spring ball gone this year, it makes it tough for guys like me who are trying to move up the depth chart. I just have to be ready for the fall.”
Tesznar will be a redshirt sophomore when the Eagles resume football. He spent last season as the backup right tackle for EMU after climbing his way up the depth chart with a strong late-season performance during his redshirt year when he earned a trip to the Eagles bowl game.
Last year he was on the EMU travel roster for games at Kentucky, Coastal Carolina and Illinois, but a shoulder injury cost him any chance of making the field. Late in the season he endured an ankle sprain.
“I had to sit out a couple of weeks due to the AC joint sprain,” he said.
This spring he was ready to challenge for the starting spot when, after one practice, the players were sent home and the practice sessions were scrapped. He anticipates returning to the Ypsilanti campus as soon as next month.
In the meantime, he’s been working out at home with his younger brother, Brodi, and some former Whiteford teammates.
“It’s been a long time,” he said. “I need to get back under a routine, a schedule.”
Tesznar said when the football players left campus, they were not given a lot of direction when it came to workouts because no one knew how long they would be out. The EMU coaches, however, remained in contact.
“It was a struggle at first,” he said. “The first two weeks or so we didn’t have any set workouts. You just had to do what you thought was right.
“You just have to be able to hold yourself accountable – eat right, work out on your own and do what you can to stay in shape. I mainly use body weights, but I’ve done some running around my yard or down the road.”
Tesznar was a key cog in the Bobcat lineup for a team that reached two consecutive state championship games. He was a two-time All-State player and is trying to become one of the few Division 1 boys athletes in school history to complete four years of college athletics. He’s about 6-5, 295 right now as he works to make the Eagle lineup.
“I love it here,” he said. “I felt like it would be a lot different from high school, but the culture is very similar. Everyone is a family, very tight-knit. I’ve met some of my best friends up here. Everybody wants you to success and everyone holds each other accountable.”
He had the fundamentals down when he got to campus, but had to learn new techniques in blocking, especially pass-blocking.
“We didn’t pass a lot at Whiteford,” he said. “That was a big change. We run more of a spread, zone-read stuff here. That first year, you spend a lot of time just learning the playbook and maybe some footwork. It took some time to adjust.”
Tesznar said the EMU coaching staff has the players best interests in mind.
“They are super goal-oriented,” he said. “All we do is work on obtaining goals.”
Last semester Tesznar carried a 3.5 grade point average and is studying finance.
“I think this was the best decision I could have made,” he said. “I’ve definitely grown a lot not just in football but as a person.”