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Kinder leaves DWU football program with no QB on roster

For the first time since he came to Dakota Wesleyan University, head coach Ross Cimpl will not have quarterback Jon Bane leading the Tiger offense.

Replacing his signal caller just got a bit harder for Cimpl after the only backup quarterback on the roster left the team after the season.

Freshman Nick Kinder is no longer with the DWU football team, according to Cimpl, who is heading into his third season with the Tigers.

“It was strictly an academic thing,” Cimpl said of Kinder’s decision to leave. “Not that he wasn’t doing well academically, but he is going to pursue some different things down the road for his future and for him to do that, he needed to go to another institution.

“For us it’s a tough deal, but it is a decision that he made and you can’t hold that against the kid.”

The Fresno, Calif., native played in only three games for the Tigers as a freshman, throwing just two passes, but did have a full year playing behind Bane to learn the DWU offense.

Following the season, Cimpl said Kinder would be a part of a competition at quarterback next year with any incoming players at the position. Any fresh faces would need time to learn the DWU playbook and time will not be a luxury for the Tigers.

Cimpl plans to bring in a number of quarterbacks to compete for the job, including looking at some junior college players who may have a bit more seasoning than one straight out of high school.

“We need to get some guys in here in the spring from a transfer standpoint, and honestly that was our plan anyway,” Cimpl said. “Not that Nick wasn’t a capable guy, but we needed to at least have some competition.

“There are some junior college kids we are talking about and that is somebody who understands what college football is and can be here in the spring to learn the system.”

Junior college transfers can enroll for the winter semester and would be eligible to practice with the team during the spring. Any high school senior coming to the Tigers would not be on the field for DWU until summer workouts begin, making the transition much tougher.

Whoever comes into to replace Bane will be filling historic shoes of DWU’s most prolific passer. Bane finished with the team record for most passing yards in a season and career.

“We knew after Jon was done we would have to find a guy, and I don’t see us as in panic mode,” Cimpl added.

The new quarterback will have the luxury of handing the ball off to the nation’s leading rusher from 2013, Francois Barnaud, who will be back for his senior season.

“We need to make some adjustments to our offense to fit our personnel,” Cimpl said. “At the end of the day we may need to do some things to simplify our offense, but our coaches are pretty good at what they do, putting players in the right positions.”

Cimpl said, as of now, no other players have left the team early.

The Tigers ended the 2013 season with an 8-3 record, falling just short of the NAIA playoffs. The team was just the third in DWU history with at least eight wins.