A few things can be reflected upon for ACU football’s offense and defense as the team wrapped up summer workouts on Saturday.
For this season, on the offensive side of the ball, there is a need for many new faces to step up and fill positions that previous team members left behind. That means more reps for the younger players to have and better experience for them to develop.
Entering the first year of college ball as a freshman isn’t always an easy transition. Adjusting to size, mobility and knowledge of the game are a few major components with which players have to quickly familiarize themselves.
Freshman offensive lineman Colton King, shares his experience of picking up college ball. At 6 feet 6 inches, 280-pounds, King will back up sophomore Codey Funk, a Heartland Community College transfer.
“So far it has been fun, but you have to learn a whole new system,” said King. “We have a giant playbook, so we have to constantly think. It’s been a little rough. There’s an adjustment period, but it’s all coming along. We are all getting better every day.”
As for defense, ACU will return a more experienced lineup of players who are expected to lead the Wildcats. Among the numerous starters returning from last season is senior Damon Williams, the 6-foot-3-inch tackle who transferred in from the University of Oklahoma prior to last season.
Williams had to sit out the first four games of the season but played the final seven games, totaling 22 tackles, a forced fumble and sack and a blocked kick.
“As a whole we are looking pretty good,” Williams said. “We have a lot of returners back, so we are looking very strong on the defense side of the ball, but at the end of the day it starts up front. So as long as we are up front handling our business, the back end will handle their business and we will have faith in our defense.”
Another player who stood out this summer is freshman A.J. Tolbert. Tolbert has earned a starting spot alongside senior Nick Richardson. Altogether, the hard work through summer workouts and two-a-days has paid off. As for Tolbert and the rest of the team, playing against Georgia State in the Georgia Dome will be a memory they won’t forget.
“Being the new guy, it’s been a grind at some moments, but I say we are pushing through day by day,” Tolbert said. “I’m looking forward to it and I can’t wait, honestly. Especially being in the new conference.”