Jordan Velarde didn’t expect his first season with the University of Mary to end two games into the 2018 season.
And as much as UMary head coach Craig Bagnell prepared for what-if situations in his first season at the helm, rolling with a freshman quarterback for the majority of the year wasn’t the ideal plan.
But Jason Hoekstra has held his own since Velarde went down with an ACL injury against Bemidji State.
“I really like how he’s (Hoekstra) handled this whole situation,” Velarde, who will have season-ending surgery today (Wednesday) said Tuesday. I’ve been in his shoes before getting thrown into the fire when you’re not even expecting to play a down all year.”
Hoekstra had his roughest start of the season Saturday against Augustana (S.D.) as he threw three interceptions and finished with his second-lowest completion percentage in seven games. The Marauders lost, 48-16 to the Vikings, however, there were a few positives to take away from Hoekstra’s performance.
Hoekstra threw for his second-most passing yards with 202 and tossed the sixth touchdown of his young collegiate career.
“I think with more experience that he will continue to become more confident,” Velarde added. “And become more adjusted to college tempo.”
Velarde said he’s been helping Hoekstra prepare for every type of defense and the two have their work cut out for them leading up to Saturday’s contest against Northern State.
The Wolves may be 2-6 but Hoekstra and UMary’s offensive line is going to have to keep an eye on Noah MacPherson. The NSU senior linebacker is eighth in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference with 7.9 tackles per game.
However, the Wolves defense is allowing 30.3 points per game, which is 12th worst in the league.
“I’ve been helping him by watching film and going over what we both see,” Velarde said about how he’s helped Hoekstra during this time. “I’ve tried my best to just be there for him and give him keys of advice and also being a mentor on the sideline during the game as much as possible.”
As tough as it is for Velarde to see someone else starting in a blue and orange uniform, he knows he’ll be back stronger and healthier next season.
“I think the biggest thing I can do is be the absolute best version of myself next year,” he added. “By understanding the playbook better then anyone else on the team and understanding I have to put in the work this offseason.”
“I also need to be the best leader and captain I can be for this team.”