Back on the track ?
|2nd Division West
Team overlook:With the return of several veteran players, the Bergen Storm are again set to return to the Norwegian American Football League. After withdrawing from the league in the spring of 1998, Bergen Storm has had a nice blend of rookies and veterans returning to the team. Still in charge are the team's main men; Kaj Hopland (QB), Rolf Endresen (RB/LB) and Atle Mølholm (WR/CB). In addition Magnus Andersson -a 10 year swedish veteran- has joined the team both as a player and coach. The team has also seen players like Rune Danielsen (DT/E), Ronny Nilsen (DT), Eirik Talhaug (FS), Svein Inge Torsvik (LB/RB), and Trond Christiansen (OG) return. These players bring with them valuable experience from which the team will benefit. Anything but the top position in the 2nd. division west will be a disappointment.
Quarterbacks:Kaj Hopland is still the man in Bergen. He has been the starting quarterback in Bergen since 1993. Kaj is backed up by Atle Mølholm, who only will take over the job if Hopland is injuried. The 3rd stringer is Bård Strøm, a former junior quarterback for Storm. With Kaj Hopland, the offense will have a leader with almost 10 years of experience, whom also has much needed leadership and calm. The main concern is Hopland's armstrength. He does not have a rocket arm, and his accuracy on the deep pass has not been good enough.
Runningbacks:This may be the weakest link in the Bergen Storm chain. As of now there are 3 rookies that fight for the 2 starting positions. Trond Stokkan is a hardhitting FB with Junior experience, but there are questionmarks about his lack of size. The tailback/halfback position will probably be handled by either a Christian F. Mathisen, or Rickardo Matos. Matos is an American living in Bergen. He has played high school football in his younger days and has much needed understanding of the game. We can really summerize the Bergen Storm backfield in one word: SMALL.
Receivers:This is the stronghold of the team. Atle Mølholm is possibly one of the best wideouts in Norway. He scored 3 TD's in one game against the Vikings back in 1994 and still plays solid football. But it seems like everyone outside Bergen has forgotten about him. The other probable starter is Dan-Thomas Johannesen. This guy has been catching everything -and we mean EVERYTHING- thrown at him in practice. He has amazed both the coaches and his fellow players with his catching ability. The starting TE will be Stig Scjerpen, a big and athletic TE with sure hands and good speed. He will surprise a lot of DB's when he takes off downfield.
Offensive Line:The offensive will be made up of some rookies and some veterans. The main man on the line will probably be OT Magnus Andersson. Magnus brings with him 10 years of experience, both as a Defensive and an Offensive line player with the Norrköping Peking Panthers. He is joined by veteran Trond Christiansen, a former center for the Bergen Bulldogs and Bergen Storm. The present center is rookie Frode Johansen whom shows promise at the position and the other OT is Holger Gramstad, one of the largest players on the team. The last starting guard spot is not yet filled.
Defensive Line:The defensive line will fight with the receiving corps about being the strongest link in the Bergen Storm chain. This spring has seen the return of Ronny Nilsen (7 years DT veteran), Rune Danielsen (former Sandnes Oilers and Storm DE) and Espen Syversen, a former Storm TE/DE. Teams will struggle running inside plays against Bergen Storm, and Syversen has shown a terrific ability to tackle for a loss any opposing RB trying to get to the outside. The fourth d-line starter has not yet been determined.
Linebackers:This unit is the one surrounded with the most uncertainty. The sure thing is that Rolf Endresen is one of the starting LB'ers. In addition, Stein Rage Larsen will be one of the inside linebackers. The questionmarks are if Conroy McClocken (probably Storms all-time OLB) will play this year, and if so, will he be joined by the experienced and hard hitting Svein Inge Torsvik, a former OG and FB with the team ? If all these players play, Bergen Storm will have a fearsome 8 man front. If not, they will probably have to count on the DL to take the heat.
Defensive Backs:Eirik Talhaug will lead this unit from his FS position. Talhaug is a 6 year veteran; 3 as a WR and 3 as a safety. He will bring sorely needed experience to the safety position. The cornerback positions is not yet set, but don't be surprised if you see Jon Bakken and Atle Mølholm lined up opposite the opposing teams' wide receivers. Both of them have the necessary experience to play this position, and play it well. Tom Willy Grongan, also a CB veteran may be the fourth DB in this picture, but his lack of stamina may keep him out of the starting lineup.
Special Teams:Kicker Kenneth Didriksen has the experience and the legstrength to make the Bergen Storm special teams pass the exam. Didriksen kicks the ball high and deep. But the rest of the special teams is still uncertain. What this unit has is experience, what it lacks is a pure speedster who can make something happen.
Coaching Staff:The team has three position coaches (Kaj Hopland, Rolf Endresen & Magnus Andersson), but no headcoach. All three coaches have contributed with offensive plays and with the defensive formations. The result of this way of handling things has not yet materialized. We may see a well balanced offense with a well diversified group of plays, or maybe we'll see a confused offense with no specified philosophy and plays which does not work together to set up the opposing defense. The defense has -as many times before- been left to itself, playing on instinct instead of designed plays.
Summary:There are too many questionmarks with this team to say if they will win or lose. The potential to win the division is definetly there, but Storm may also show up as a team with no genuine strategy or philosophy.
Team overall: C-