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Griffons Prepare for Familiar Face in Home Opener

Missouri S&T Head Coach Tyler Fenwick spent six seasons as the Griffons' offensive coordinator.
(ST. JOSEPH) Missouri Western returns to Spratt Stadium for their home opener this Saturday, but it's also a return for a former Griffon coach. 

"Rarely do you know your opponent as well as he knows us," head coach Jerry Partridge said. "He's looking at every one of those kids and knows every one of them."

An early-season non-conference meeting with a Great Lakes Valley Conference team wouldn't usually raise many eyebrows around Missouri Western. 

This game is different, since the opponent knows Griffon football inside and out.

"Even the transfer kids, he knows what they're about. So, he really understands us, and I think that works to their advantage.

First-year Missouri S&T Head Coach Tyler Fenwick spent the last six seasons as MWSU's offensive coordinator. He helped mold quarterbacks Drew Newhart and Travis Partridge into two of the best in school history.

He also built the MIAA's most potent offense a season ago and had plenty of time to get familiar with the Griffon defense.

"He knows the personnel and the schemes that we do better than anybody we've ever faced," MWSU defensive coordinator Regi Trotter said. "He's sat in those meetings rooms. He's come into my office and we've drawn up things."

"I went against this defense for six years in practice," Fenwick said. "It's going to come down to how our kids execute our offense."

Fenwick already got a taste of many things a head coach has to game for in the Miners' opener, a double overtime loss to No. 20 Chadron State. Missouri S&T managed to rack up over 500 yards of total offense using the same scheme that helped the Griffons conquer their conference.

"A lot of things that we called are similar, but we've changed some things in the sense that you look at your personnel and what you have and who is the best guy at what position."

"It's the Missouri Western Golden Griffon offense," Partridge said. "Defensively, they're different, though. They don't run what we run on defense. There will be some wrinkles that he doesn't realize we would do against him that we will do now."

The fact the Griffons aren't as familiar with the Miners' personnel could be a slight edge, but Fenwick knows better than anyone what his players will be up against in trying to steal a win in St. Joseph.

"I try not to think about it," he said. "It's hard not to, but this is about our kids getting a chance to play a top football program."
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