First Down

First+Down

Nick Vitale, Reporter

With six home football games, the Cougars are looking to lock down the team’s first win.

Players hope fans will continue the team spirit that marked last year’s inaugural season.

“It’s very exciting,” said Teegan French, junior and left guard for the offense. “Last year so many people came out to the home games. It was packed.”

French wants fans to know this team is different from the 2012- 2013 squad.

“We have a different offense than last year. It is a lot quicker, and we do not huddle as much. We are trying to be a quicker team and beat the other team off the ball.”

It’s also a more experienced team because half of the players have one year of training and collegiate play under their belts.

“It’s not all rookies,” said Head Coach Mark Ross. “Anybody who was not a true freshmen last year was still a rookie to the college game.”

There are 92 players on the roster and half of them are freshman, Ross said. The returning players have 10 college games behind them, which means they should have some benefit of experience.

French was one of the very few players chosen for the university’s original team.

“Coach Ross wanted a group that was a foundation team,” he said. “There were 23 of us. Now there are only five left. Some graduated; others fell off.”

Ross expects a tough fight from his team this season.

“I want to see us compete for 60 minutes, play hard, and limit the mistakes. We need to play as hard and as fast as we can,” Ross said of the 2013 roster.

Ross said it is too early to determine who the stand out players are going to be this season because he hasn’t yet been able to determine strengths and weaknesses of the entire team.

“It’s going to be determined when we get in to games,” he said.

French, a returning player, already has a better feeling about this season than last season.

“We are looking a lot better this year than we did last year,” said French. “We have a talented young group.”

While the team is dominantly composed of underclassmen they are eager to put in time and effort, according to Ross.

“This is a great group of kids [who] work their tails off. They have done a good job representing the University,” said Ross. There are a lot of ways to measure success, and if you just measure it by scores I think you are missing the boat.”

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