2024 GVSU Football Spring Game

GVSU Spring Games Takeaways: What To Know About New OC Ian Shoemaker

GVSU Spring Games Takeaways: What To Know About New OC Ian Shoemaker

Grand Valley State football prepares for a 2024 season with exciting changes coming to the offense, starting with the addition of coordinator Ian Shoemaker.

Apr 19, 2024 by Kyle Kensing

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Perennial national championship-contending Grand Valley State football prepares for its 2024 season with some changes on the horizon. 

Expect the most change to come to the Lakers offense, with both a new starting quarterback taking over after three years of Cade Peterson starting behind center; and with the addition of new offensive coordinator Ian Shoemaker. 

Shoemaker joins the GVSU football program with a wealth of experience, as well as one of the most geographically diverse resumes any coach in the nation can boast. 

Shoemaker's experience includes a successful head-coaching tenure at Central Washington, as well as offensive coordinating roles at the Div. II and Div. I Championship and Bowl Subdivision levels. 

A potent passing attack has been a hallmark of Shoemaker's teams everywhere he's gone, but don't anticipate a GVSU rushing attack that ranked 10th in the nation in 2023 to abandon its ground attack in 2024. The spring showcase showed off some of the multifaceted looks the Lakers will employ in Shoemaker's debut campaign with Grand Valley State. 

Dual-Threat Quarterbacks 

Two-way playmakers have long been a staple of the Grand Valley State offensive look, and they have also been able to thrive at various stops in Ian Shoemaker's coaching journey. 

In 2013, St. Cloud State finished 12-2 and reached the NCAA Div. II Playoffs with a near-40-point per-game output. Quarterback Phillip Klaphake led the Huskies that season with 3,548 yards passing, 31 touchdowns through the air, and only six interceptions. Klaphake rushed for another 699 yards and 12 scores. 

The quarterback was a contender for the Harlon Hill Trophy in both of his seasons as St. Cloud State's starter, scoring more touchdowns rushing in each campaign than the number of interceptions he threw. 

In his next stop as head coach at Central Washington, Shoemaker's final team in 2018 was among the most explosive at any level of college football. Quarterback Reilly Hennesseey played a central role with 2,705 yards passing and 21 touchdowns, and nearly 600 yards rushing with 11 carries for scores. 

His return to an offensive coordinator role at Eastern Washington produced more of the same. The Eagles posted almost 41 points per game in 2019 with Eric Barriere carrying for 558 yards and eight touchdowns, and passing for 3,712 and 31. 

Barriere's three seasons quarterbacking Shoemaker's produced some of the most eye-popping statistics of any quarterback at any level, culminating in his 2021 Walter Payton Award-winning campaign. 

GVSU quarterback Avery Moore, who has proven himself to be an outstanding ball-carrier in his opportunities, should expect his number called plenty in a variety of ways during the 2024 season. 

Airing It Out 

When Ian Shoemaker came to Eastern Washington, the program had a recent run of standout quarterback play including two-way threats. Vernon Adams' 2014 season, for example, is among the most memorable in recent Football Championship Subdivision history, and Barriere continued in that tradition in 2019. 

Shoemaker's final season in Cheney saw Eastern Washington operate with an especially aggressive vertical passing game, marked with Barriere passing for an incredible 5,070 yards and 46 touchdowns. 

The Eagle's attack shared traits with the look Grand Valley State employed 20 years prior, as Lakers Hall of Famer Curt Anes rewrote record books with his prolific passing. 

Recent Lakers quarterbacks have attempted in the range of 200 passes per season, with Bart Williams' 277 and 306 in 2017 and 2018 on the higher end. Shoemaker's experience overseeing air-raid-influenced offenses, and most recently coordinating the Run and Shoot look at Hawai'i could make the 2024 GVSU scheme the most pass-happy the Lakers have used in several years. 

To Be Or Nott To Be 

Among the most exciting possibilities for the GVSU offense in 2024 is the role of uniquely talented Kyle Nott. 

The two-sport star Nott has been excelling on the baseball diamond in the spring, but in his return to the gridiron ahead of the football season, don't be surprised to see the Laker's new offensive coordinator utilize Nott in a variety of ways. 

Nott shined both as a pass-catcher and ball-carrier in 2023, finishing third on the team in both receiving and rushing. Shoemaker's proven willingness to conform his playcalling to the available talent suggests Grand Valley State will find ways to get the ball in Nott's hands — no matter what that looks like. 

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