The first week of classes means one thing to serious football fans in the Big Country: it is football time.
First year head coach Ken Collums has inherited the tenth ranked football team in the nation, and the boys of fall are looking to put together a playoff run after last year’s early exit in the first round.
Offensively, ACU scored like a pinball machine last year, and not much will change, as the high-flying Wildcat attack looks as menacing as ever.
Darian Hogg, Taylor Gabriel and Darrel Cantu-Harkless will lead a star-studded group of playmakers this year for the ACU offense that will give LSC coaches fits on the outside all year long.
Darian Dulin takes over as the defensive coordinator after the team fought through some rough patches on the defensive side of the ball last year, giving up over 400 yards a game.
Quarterback Mitchell Gale said that the past defenses have been good, but that offenses on the other side have also been good. He is confident that the Wildcats defense will do will this year.
“I think our defense is going to be very good,” said Gale.
Dulin will be looking to revamp a defense that has no shortage of talent. Hard-hitting linebacker Thor Woerner and playmaker Darien Williams should have monster years this year, after the two players combined for 134 tackles in the 2011 campaign.
The Wildcats did not do themselves any favors with the schedule. ACU will face off against four teams ranked in the top 25, including rival West Texas A&M on the road and a showdown in Abilene against the fourth ranked Midwestern St. Mustangs.
“Our approach since the spring has been that it doesn’t matter who we play, we had better show up and be ready to go,” Collums said. “Every week we have to go in there and play a clean game.”
The Cats will also travel to perennial powerhouse Delta State and face off against West Alabama at Shotwell in early November.
The Wildcats’ first game of the 2012 season will be at Shotwell Stadium on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. against fellow Abilene school McMurry University.