Goldman, Adams Ready to Lead Macalester Scots to Greater Heights of Excellence
Last season Cinderella made her debut in the national pantheon that is Division-III college football. The Macalester College Scots, long the doormat of the sport, stepped out from the carriage and became the darlings of a nation. A 9-2 season was capped off by their first conference championship in decades and their first ever trip to the playoffs. It was a remarkable season that made the school the newest royalty.
Make no mistake however. This was not a finesse team of brilliant athletes who defeated opponents with a series of clever schemes you would see in a Hollywood movie. This was a team that played smashed mouth football. They hit you hard with running back Zandy Stowell, who finished 13th in the nation in rushing (1304) despite playing in one or two less games than many of the backs that were ahead of him. The offensive line had three stars that helped the team to produce 2393 yards on the ground and a sterling 4.73 yards per carry average.
A bone crushing running attack was not all that made this team so tough to face. Macalester was a top three defense in the Midwest Conference in virtually every defensive category, and they ranked 45th in overall team defense in the country. Senior Jole Miller was a punishing defender, and the ferocity with which Defensive Coordinator Marshall Mullenbach’s squad played made them a doormat no more. Opponents quickly realized that when they came to play the Macalester Scots they had better bring their A+ game or they were going to get steamrolled.
A key piece that brought about so much success was the play of quarterback Samson Bialostok. The Midwest Conference Offense Skill MVP established himself as maybe the best pure athlete the school had ever produced and was a major reason why the Scots set school records for wins and consecutive wins. He was the very epitome of the toughness and fire that the team stood for, but now he is gone. Graduated and playing football professionally in Finland (who knew?), Bialostok was such a dominant player that he has left some mighty big shoes to fill.
This season the Fighting Scots come in with high hopes. Coach Tony Jennison put together one of the best recruiting classes in school history, the team added two new coaches that have brought added expertise and wisdom to a staff that was already regarded as masters of the Xs and Os as well gurus at inspiring players, and they may be as deep at their skill positions as a Macalester team has ever been. This is a team that has everything it needs to make a 9-2 season seem almost pedestrian in comparison to what they can accomplish.
To make that happen two men are tasked with stepping out of the shadow of Samson Bialostok to create a legacy of their own. They are the ones that people will be looking to lead this team to the next level and maybe even make the Macalester Scots a real powerhouse in Division-III football. Those two men are Benny Goldman and Christian Adams.
If one was looking for two more different people fighting for the same position they could not have found them. Goldman is a senior this season, and at 5-9, 201-pounds he looks more like an attacking linebacker than a pretty boy quarterback. Goldman is an astute student of the game who sees plays occurring in chunks. He is not dissecting a key moment in the play but is, instead, analyzing every aspect of what is going on at once, beautifully determining where the greatest chance for success may occur, all while being chased by a 250-pound defensive end.
Benny is what many would expect from a Macalester College student playing quarterback. He is tough and goal-oriented. He is master of the nuisances of the game and one of the smartest people that one will encounter. A characteristic that his coach is happy to acclaim.
“Benny is such a smart young man,” Coach Jennison explains. “The way he perceives plays is just unheard of, and he handles himself in such a professional way everywhere it goes, whether on the field or in the classroom. The way he sees things so far in advance is what makes him so tough to defend.”
Coach Jennison is not the only one who sees how intelligent and perceptive the senior is. His rival for the position also notices how astute Goldman is in the way that he analyzes the game. “His on field preparation is better than I have ever seen. His ability to breakdown plays from all perspectives is just amazing. He is very goal oriented, and I see that in his life in general.”
Make no mistake; Goldman is not just a smart guy who happens to play quarterback. He has great arm strength and is a tough competitor that will get you that extra yard when you need it. “He makes the deep throws with great precision,” says Offensive Coordinator Marc Davies. “If he has a moment to make a throw, he will find the open guy and he will make a big play.”
Challenging Goldman for the position is sophomore Christian Adams. At 5-11, 194, Adams has the look and cockiness of a quarterback. If all 80 Macalester players were standing in a line and you were asked to point out who the quarterback of the team was without knowing who anyone was, 99 people out of 100 would point right at Christian.
“He is just a natural,” explains his coach. “He has such a great skill set to play the quarterback position and is such a natural fit in the pocket. You can tell he has the intangibles to play the position.”
Goldman agrees. “Christian looks like a quarterback. He throws like a quarterback. He just seems like the ideal quarterback.”
The task of replacing a legend has now fallen on these two men, and as the summer ends and the team begins their first practice Sunday night, there will be one question on the minds of the Macalester faithful: Which one?
At this point it is likely that Coach Davies and Coach Jennison are not even sure. This is not a Cleveland Browns-like circumstance where the least objectionable choice will get the call. These are two highly skilled young men who appear ready to guide their team on the field, in the locker room, and in the classroom. They not only have the skill set but have the moxie and, to be honest, the requisite arrogance that a quarterback needs if his team is going to have faith that he can come through when it really matters.
Interestingly enough, it is how they both lead that even separates them from one another. Neither are guys that will get in someone’s face and be screaming on the sideline like a, well…a Fighting Scot. Instead Goldman is a lead by example kind of guy, while Adams is the guy who is firing his team up with his words of encouragement.
Explains Benny: “I am not into the ‘rah, rah’ leadership. I personally think that being prepared and doing your job is a lot more effective than banging on the locker and screaming at everyone. That is the overall persona of the team. I have been meticulous the last three years in how I prepare for an opponent and how I practice, and that is the kind of leadership I will continue to demonstrate going forward. Look at how serious I take this and how seriously I prepare and let’s do this together.”
Christian agrees with not yelling and banging on lockers, but has his own style that suits his process in getting his team ready to play. “I will sometimes get hyped up and really aggressive with things during a game, like if the defense has a great play I may go over and tell them how great they are doing. I may tell guys when we are struggling to pick it up, or ‘hey you got it in you.’ That is the kind of leadership I bring. I am the guy who is always motivating you to do better; to look beyond the past and focus on what we can do now.”
Whoever wins the starting job, both know that they have a job to do and neither seems concerned with trying to step into the big shoes of their predecessor. “Samson was a great quarterback, but I believe that is incentive to pick up where he left off and to do things that he did not necessarily do well,” Christian expounds. “Whether that be reading the defense or making certain plays. I don’t really see it as pressure, because whoever can come in and get the job done and get the ball into the hands of the receivers, run the offense well, he is going to get the job.”
Goldman agrees. “It is a different situation because Samson was such a unique talent and it is not realistic for either of us to come in and play his style of game, and fill his shoes in that sense. That takes the pressure off of us right away, because no one is expecting us to perform like he did. We are going to have to do things differently offensively.”
This will be one of the most interesting quarterback battles simply because there is not much similarity between the two as quarterbacks. Even in their pathways to the position both have found alternative routes. Adams has the natural look and touch, and so his place in the battle would be what everyone would expect.
Goldman admits that this was true for him. When he arrived at Macalester he was the lowest rated of the three quarterbacks they had recruited that year, and the coaches were brutally honest about what that meant for him. “They told me that I was the lowest on the totem pole and I was going to have to work hard to establish myself. They got me to see that I needed to do more than just focus on my own game. If I wanted this job I was going to have to work for it.”
So who will likely get this job? Only two people really know the answer to that question (and don’t count on them telling me first). So these two will enter training camp ready to do battle with one another to earn their place on the field when the ball is kicked off on September 5. Both of these two really want this job, but do not think that either would stand in the way if he was being outperformed by the other. These two may be quite different in many ways, but they both put their team first, and their admiration for each other is included in that.
Benny explains, “We both are very different personality wise. We are not too competitive with each other. I love this team to death and I care about the outcome, and I can’t really control what he does and he can’t control what I do, so I just focus on knowing that the way that the team can get better is for me to just get better myself. We just help each other prepare and we both want the best out of each other because both of us need to be ready to play at any time.”
Christian expresses this quite a bit more succinctly. “Whoever can get the job done should be in.”
It is less than three weeks until the Macalester Scotts will take the field against the Carleton Knights. Last season a last second field goal by Michael Abramson against the Knights gave the Scots the win and propelled them to the greatest season in school history. That moment established that this team was for real and that when they needed big plays they were going to deliver.
One season later they enter with some serious question marks. The defense lost stalwarts Jole Miller, Reid Callahan, Ryan Flanagan, and Konnor Fleming, among others. The offensive line lost three all-conference players in John Stephens, Spencer Weckwerth, and Djoser Ramsey, and Abramson graduated as well. There are some serious question marks that hang over the team as they prepare for the 2015 campaign.
Many may consider the quarterback one of those areas that should be a cause for concern, but rest assured Macalester Scots fans. If you knew Christian Adams and Benny Goldman you would be quite confident that the skill position is in good hands. And for opponents on the Scots schedule; go ahead and think this is a weakness if you dare. Both of these men dare you.
By Robert Pannier