Lutheran football begins new era under Luedke

Jeff Luedke enters as head coach for the first time in his career with the Crusaders.
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 11:08 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - When Lutheran kicks off their season against North Boone this August, a new era of Crusader will begin as Jeff Luedke begins his first season as head coach.

While Luedke may be a first-time head coach, he comes into the role with plenty of experience, with coaching ties to the Lutheran program dating back to 2000. Luedke understands the challenge he faces heading into 2022 with the program.

“They (football players) have had it really pretty tough, they’ve had COVID, they’ve had a shortened season, I’m the third head coach in the last year and a half, that isn’t any way to build trust with kids,” Luedke said, “You got to have a dependable process and program to gain their trust and it hasn’t been a challenge, from March’s first meeting on they’ve bought into the workouts and they’ve bought into things.”

Luedke has placed emphasis on building a culture and identity for the team.

“Doing other things besides football which helps these kids get together, all of these kids aren’t in the same school district, they come from all over the area, so they got to get to know each other too and so it’s not only us, the coaches, but it’s also them knowing each other too so it just takes time,” Luedke said.

The Crusaders are coming off a 4-5 2021 season and while the roster number may not be as high as it usually is, players and coaches are confident in the culture they’re building.

“I’m pleasantly surprised with what the talent level is as far as speed and as far as the skill positions I think we’re going to be able to compete,” Luedke said.

“I feel like we’ve come together as a team and with a coaching staff we got better communication and better bonds with each other,” senior quarterback/cornerback Kyng Hughes said.

“It’s all in the culture, I think we got to fight, we’re not going to fizzle out in overtime like we did last year, we’re going to be able to play through the entire game even though we don’t have a lot of numbers, I think we’re conditioned and hardworking enough that we can fight it out and win,” senior safety/wide receiver Jonah Miller said.

Copyright 2022 WIFR. All rights reserved.