State Colleges

Dreiling another constant for Butler

Like any college football coach worth his salt, Butler's Troy Morrell watches an inordinate amount of game video.

The focus of that time, of course, is to look for tendencies. Find something that happens over and over again and then exploit it.

Look for the one constant.

Butler safety Harrison Dreiling is that constant.

"You can almost close your eyes, pick out a spot in the game and he'll show up in a positive way each time," Morrell said. "Each and every game, he makes plays."

Dreiling's emergence on the Grizzlies' defense has helped put No. 4 Butler (7-1, 6-0 Jayhawk Conference) return to where it expects to be at this time of year — contending for conference and national championships.

The Grizzlies face undefeated, No. 3 Fort Scott today at Fort Scott, with the regular-season Jayhawk Conference title on the line. Butler has won the last eight league titles and the last two national championships. The winner of today's game gets the top seed in the Region VI playoffs.

"We'll handle this week just like any other week," said Dreiling, who is second on the team with 57 tackles, including seven for loss. "As far as titles and stuff like that, we don't talk about that at all."

The 6-foot, 195-pound Augusta product and former Wichita State baseball player joined the Grizzlies in the January 2008 after playing for the Shockers his freshman season, seeing action in 14 games and hitting .269 at shortstop and second base. He had 11 tackles and an interception as a role player for Butler last season.

"The transition wasn't that hard, just had to get used to the speed," Dreiling said. "I didn't feel like I'd lost that much."

Because of the year spent playing for WSU, Dreiling must now make a tough decision in the next couple of months: try to play one year of Division I college football or play two years at a Division II school.

Because of NCAA rules, Dreiling's "five years to play four seasons" at the Division I level — regardless of sport — started with his freshman year for the Shockers, 2006-07.

Division II goes by semesters instead, giving Dreiling a little more leeway.

"It seems kind of unfair, but it's out of my hands so I don't really worry about it," Dreiling said. "I don't regret any part of going to WSU — I made a lot of great friends and I was part of a regional championship team and played in a super regional."

Regardless, Morrell is happy that Dreiling made the move back to the gridiron.

"Harrison's come in and done a tremendous job, provided a lot of leadership and the competitiveness he brings is invaluable," Morrell said.