Bærum Blue Devils
Ready to bang heads ?
|2nd Division East
Bærum Blue Devils
OSI Vikings 2
Bærum Blue Devils has only existed since 1996, having played in the 1997 3rd division and last years' 2nd division. Last season ended with the team withdrawing from play in the midst of the season, reportedly caused by a lack of players on the team. This year however they look better prepared to compete in the league with their main driving forces Jan Tore Klepp and Bjarne Plassen back from studies abroad and back in charge of the team. Furthermore, most of the players from the junior team has reached the age to play at the senior level, bringing up talents like Pål Magnus Nygård, Harald Borgerud, Øystein Tehrani and newcomer Per Bjørn "Pelle" Sneen. The last year has seen a lot of former players enter retirement. Rikard Wærø (RB) has left to study in the States; he is one of the greater losses for Bærum in front of this season. However, the Blue Devils are ready to take on the task of becoming a serious and competitive team, clearly shown by the hiring of Blake Miller as new head coach.
The starter will most likely be the former Asker Lynx QB, the returning Jan Tore Klepp. His backup will be the prospering junior team QB Yashar Alousha. Klepp has a good passing arm and can move around in the pocket, making him a difficult target for defenders to pin down. He also has the experience that makes him a patient and tricky player to predict for the opposing teams. Alousha will see limited playing time at this position this year. He is using this year to learn more about the position from the more experienced Klepp.
Losing Rikard Wærø doesnt look to become a problem for the Blue Devils this year. This squad will consist of strong powerful runners like Christian Hermansen, Pål Magnus Nygård and this years top rookie Per Bjørn "Pelle" Sneen. Pål Magnus Nygård comes up from the junior team. He is one of the most talented youngsters in Norway today, bringing power and fearlessness to a backfield that already has one of the Blue Devils meanest blockers, Christian Hermansen. The combination of these two as halfback and fullback will give the Blue Devils a tough backfield, and with the ever improving "Pelle" Sneen -also a power runner- this could be the Blue Devils best unit this year.
As the Blue Devils has lost many players to retirement this season, some of the positions have been more heavily hit then others. Receivers is one of them, having only the presumed starters already on the roster. Øystein Tehrani, Kim Myrhvold and Harald Moen Borgerud (TE) are all former junior team players. Tehrani has been called a "potential star" and has good talent, but needs to concentrate on his job. He has blazing speed and good hands, all thats left to prove is that he can use both at the same time. Myrhvold is a blank sheet that nobody knows much about, while Borgerud has speed, size and hands to become a good tight end. He played high school football a year ago, giving him the experience to play such a position.
At center this year we are expected to see the returning Bjarne Plassen taking back his spot from the '97 season where he played solid most of the season. Guards will most likely be the very experienced Erik Tengs Haugen and Sindre Stange, brining in size and strength to the middle of the line. Tackles look also to be filled with good size players as the strong junior Andreas Gartmann comes up and Baard Vidar Pettersen changes from TE to help on the line. Backups here are the former junior Rob Oud and long timer Trond Antonisen. It looks like this unit has some good size, now it remains to see if they have the skills required.
Yet another unit that has some good sized players bringing out the fastest and most technical player of the offensive line. As ends we will see Baard Vidar Pettersen and Trond Antonisen, and as guards well see former Asker Lynx Kristian Bundgaard and Bjarne Plassen. Pettersen has great size and strong tackling ability. Antonisen has the experience to do proper contain work, while Bundgaard is a power rusher clogging up the middle and Plassen is more of an attacking type of player with good speed out of the stance. This is not a strong unit but it seems to take that back in variation and skills.
This might be the Blue Devils most powerful defensive unit, assumed that all the top players are healthy before the season opener. Here you should find Christian Hermansen, Sindre Stange, Jan Tore Klepp and "Pelle" Sneen as this years starters. Hermansen will most likely start at the strong side, being the linebacker type that constantly blitzes and in that way disturbs the offensive rythm. Stange is the main motor of this unit having played this position for almost 10 years. He has very good mobility and is recognised as a fearsome tackler, covering not only the inside but moving from sideline to sideline. Klepp looks to be moving from the weak side to inside linebacker this year giving up his spot on the side to Sneen. Sneen is the big question in the starting unit this year, being a rookie. Even though he is said to have an eye for the game; will he emerge as an outstanding newcomer or be the weak spot in the unit? That remains to be seen. As backups at linebacker we might see some playing time from Pål Magnus Nygård, Harald Borgerud and Bjarne Plassen this year.
This is the big question mark of the Blue Devils defence, who will play d-backs and safety ? Most probably the corners will be Øystein Therani and Yashar Alousha leaving the safety position open. If either Pål Magnus Nygård or Harald Borgerud makes an impact at the linebacker position, most likely we will see Jan Tore Klepp moving to the safety position. He is the player with the most experience to guide the backfield against the passing game.
This is also another unsure chapter in the Devils line-up. Most likely Trond Antonisen will be the place kicker, having a good foot within the 35-yard line but not as strong a foot on the kick-off. Punter is still an undecided issue within the team, not having a solid player at this position. Punt and kick return man this year will be the ever spinning Øystein Tehrani, who with his blazing speed can make some good returns if he gets some open field to run in.
The Blue Devils coaching staff looks to have grown since last year, bringing in well known Bob OConnor, one of the most experienced coaches in Europe and hiring Blake Miller, a 29 year old former NCAA player, athletic director and coach. Appointed position coaches so far is Jan Tore Klepp in charge of the secondary both ways and the QB position, and Bjarne Plassen who will be the lines coach. OConnor brings over 40 years of experience to the team, while Miller brings the motivation and many new and exciting ideas to the team. Klepp has more than 10 years experience in Norwegian gridiron, giving him loads of routine. Plassen in his short coaching career has seen action on the national junior team as line coach and also held an assistant head coach job with the Sevilla Linces in Spain in the spring of '98. Look for these guys to guide this team on the right track this year, hopefully through a successful season.
The Blue Devils looks to be moving in the right direction. They have hired in two coaches to lead them into the future and taking practices to a higher level. The team has some players that are among the best at their position in Norway and also has some promising newcomers that can make some impact to the team. Still, they are an outsider to consider for the second division title. Bærum look like they are on the right way to at least being able to completing the whole of the 1999 season.
Team overall: C-
*= Preseason game.