It was a busy spring for the football team as the first practices of a new era concluded on Friday with the purple and white scrimmage.
With first-year head coach Adam Dorrel getting his first crack at Div. 1 spring practices, Wildcat Stadium passing the halfway point of completion and a mostly new coaching staff, the team entered the spring practices with lots of questions and unknowns.
Even though spring practice serves as just an initial look and the new recruiting class is yet to step on campus, Dorrel said he was impressed with the improvement from day one to the scrimmage, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
“From practice one to practice 14, I don’t know if I’ve ever been part of a spring ball where I’ve seen a unit improve that much,” Dorrel said “What we’re doing defensively right now, what our coaching staff is doing with those guys, I’m so excited about. I feel like there is a lot of buy in by our team, I feel like our defense is trying to be more physical.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Dorrel has also been impressed with the ability athleticism of the receiving corp and is confident in what he has seen from the quarterback position.
“We feel like between Dallas Sealey, Luke Anthony and Cade Munden, we feel like those are three kids that can win football games, we really believe that,” Dorrel said. “At wide receiver we feel like we are super talented. We feel like those kids are hyper-competitive, they’ve got great skill set, they play hard, they block, they run and we feel like they are being unselfish. I think it’s a super-talented, super-diverse group.”
Dorrel said one of the big things he and his coaching staff have been trying to implement is a team and community-oriented mindset.
“Football is a unique game, you don’t have to put the eleven most athletic kids on the field,” Dorrel said. “The other team across the way can be more athletic and can look prettier, but football is so much about discipline and is a team sport. We’re starting to believe in that and our kids are starting to care about each other. I hope other people are seeing it, we’re trying to be visible in the community.”
It was this similar message Dorrel shared when he was also invited by Clemson football coach, Dabo Swinney to speak at a high school coaches clinic. Dorrel said he and Swinney had met previously and the invitation was extended with the hope of having championship-winning coaches, which is a bill both coaches fit, speak to those in attendance.
Dorrel said he saw lots of similarities in the mindset of the Clemson program to what he hopes to eventually bring here.
He and his coaching staff will have that chance when the Wildcats report for training camp in a few months. The team will open its season at New Mexico on September 2 and will play its home opener in the new Wildcat Stadium against Houston Baptist on September 16.