Miranda Smith, Campus Carrier Sports Editor
As the football season approaches, expectations are building up to the season kickoff on September 1.
Both the players and the coaches are starting fresh after reaching the second round of the NCAA playoffs last season and want to take in the new leadership and new team dynamics.
“We focus on what’s going on right now, being the best we can be for this particular play, this particular practice, for this particular meeting,” Head Coach Tony Kunczewski said.
Senior Derrell Mims and junior Mason Kinsey said Kunczewski preaches ‘don’t think about the mountain, just climb.’
The biggest hit the team faced is in their defensive line with the loss of two-time All-American defensive lineman Mamadou Soumahoro and other players.
Senior Bryson Lamboy is a key player for the defensive line now going for three years. He is the anchor of the defensive line, with senior Kevin Grier in the secondary. Grier has been a starter now for 3 years and is also one of the leaders of the team. Senior Nick McGee, who was an all-conference center last season, is also an anchor of the line.
The veterans are taking on a leadership role amongst the team.
One player to watch out for is senior Tate Adcock as the full-time quarterback. Using his veteran leadership from the past two quarterback rotations, Adcock with the help of junior Mason Kinsey coming off of a phenomenal sophomore year with 77 catches from almost 1300 yards, there is much to be expected from leadership on and off the field throughout the season to come.
Putting work in during the off-season is just as important as during the season. Kunczewski is optimistic for the season for seniors and underclassmen as well.
“I’m real excited and time will tell, but I believe our upcoming sophomore class has been a very talented class and the freshmen coming in have assimilated,” Kunczewski said, “We’re already a week in camp and nobody’s gone home so that’s promising.”
Kunczewski explained that the team is looking to be the strongest and most conditioned after showing the best numbers in recent history on the preseason conditioning test.
There is much is to be expected after the success of last season and the players’ optimistic mindset going into the season.
“Going to the second round of the playoffs, we know what type of atmosphere we need to have and the hard work we need to put in,” Mims said. “Continue to compete, take every game a week at a time and just keep on playing.”
Looking forward instead of backward is the game plan for the season according to Kinsey.
“We’re talented, if not more talented than last year,” Kinsey said. “I need to step up and be a leader because I’m not the oldest guy on the team, but as far as receiving goes, I’m one of the older guys in the film room.”
The football season will kick off on Sept. 1 against Maryville at Valhalla Stadium at 6 p.m.