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      The Cornerstone: Jimmy Holtschlag fronts rebuilding of WIU Football


      He is a honor roll student, a preseason All Conference pick and a home grown pillar of the football rebuild in Macomb...

      And as Ross Green details...Jimmy Holtschlag's value at Western Illinois both inside and outside the trenches is irreplaceable.

      "Right now, there's not a lot of people that believe in us, and we're working to make believers out of them. It's great to come in fresh from an off-season like this and hopefully we can build momentum throughout the season and keep it going,"

      Entering his fifth and final season on the offensive line in Macomb, Jimmy Holtschlag will see an increased workload in 2013. Having missed just one game in his previous 3 years, Holtschlag's senior year will be focused on the challenge of both opposing defensive lines and helping lead the team.

      "I like to keep myself positive, keep everybody else positive, be a good role model for everybody and keep everybody motivated through the tough time of camp. It's more about coming together as a family and making sure that we're doing what we need to do to be prepared for the season,"

      As far as the offense is concerned, the goal is to reverse the team's recent offensive woes after ranking last in the conference in scoring offense a year ago. A goal that would have added difficulty, one would think, with a new patriarch at the head of this family in coach Bob Nielson. But that's not the way Holtschlag sees it to this point.

      "There has been an adjustment period, and luckily he came in early enough in the spring for us to get through that, and now its just about working towards the common goal of victories. I'm very pleased with what's going on so far. I have no complaints, and just to see how everything is coming together makes me very confident in this season,"

      Whatever growing pains this team might have will certainly be eased with Holtschlag up front. A pre-season all-conference selection only adds to his motivation - not towards his own betterment, but in helping the team make a statement in his final campaign.

      "It is a great honor, but I feel the best goal that we have is winning championships. I feel that I owe it to the team to work towards that more than my own personal goals,"