If you stopped St. Norbert football practice you may hear Head Coach Jim Purtill say something a little shocking.
"Start making mistakes," Purtill told his team after practice.
For Purtill, who's amassed a 114-24 record in 13 seasons, making mistakes leads to progress.
"Everyone is so afraid to make a mistake and they get all nervous about it," says Purtill when talking about his postgame meeting with players. "Hey, that's okay, the faster you make mistakes the faster you learn."
Purtill enters his 14th season leading the Green Knights. In the previous 13 St. Norbert has won nine conference titles and made it to the NCAA DIII Playoffs eight times.
"Every year it's a new year," says Purtill when asked about his winning program. "It's not hard to motivate kids that have never done it before. You have seniors that are first- time seniors and freshman that are first-time freshman, and that's what makes it happen. It's a brand new start, we start from scratch."
This years group of seniors is hungry to keep the streak of success going.
"We had a senior speech last night," senior WR Joe Green said following practice Wednesday. "One of the Gradus said 'play like it's the last play you'll ever play every day in practice and every game. Look at the guy next to you and do it for him.' That's what it's all about."
Expectations remain the same for a St. Norbert team that's had so much success over the years including 13 straight seven- win seasons. What is different this year is how the Green Knights will kick off their 2012 regular season.
"We have an extremely long road trip," Purtill says with a smile.
St. Norbert is traveling to Dublin, Ireland August 31st to play John Carroll University as part of a 12-team Global Ireland Football Tournament to further promote the sport in Ireland and Europe.
The tournament also features 10 high school team and is headlined by Notre Dame vs.Navy.
"I don't travel a whole lot, it's going to be my first time out of the country," says senior defensive back Austin Arts. "I think it's going to be a great team experience. I think we are going to become a lot closer of a unit as a team and that's going to carry us through the wholes eason and hopefully the playoffs."
"This is a worthwile endevaor," says Purtill who compares the experience to planning for a bowl game at the Division One level. "Not just for playing a game, but for international exposure and for the experience of our kids that get to go to be part of a group representing St. Norbert College in a foreign country."
The team is hoping for a not-so-foreign outcome August 31st, a victory to start the season.