When the month of March officially rolled in Thursday, the football team began its spring football workouts the same day for the first time in Wildcat Stadium.
Although last season had many “firsts,” 2018 brings some of its own as Head Coach Adam Dorrel will oversee his team in the spring for the first time coming off of a regular season. Redshirt freshman quarterback Luke Anthony will also see his first spring as the potential starter for the 2018 season.
Dorrel said he’s ready to develop Anthony’s skills this spring.
“We want him to continue to grow and learn the offense, which I think he’s doing a phenomenal job of,” Dorrel said. “You can have 20 guys doing what they’re supposed to be doing, but if the quarterback isn’t a leader, you’re not going to have a good football team, so we’re confident Luke is going to do that.”
Anthony started in two games during the 2017 campaign. Despite losing both games, he produced an impressive stat line completing 29 of 45 passes and throwing for 345 and two touchdowns against Northwestern State while setting two single-game school records against Sam Houston, completing 37 passes and throwing 67 times. He also threw for 297 yards and five touchdowns.
Besides Anthony, the Wildcats will return senior wide receiver D.J. Fuller and sophomore running back Tracy James to the field.
On the defensive side, the dynamic safety duo of sophomore Bolu Onifade and junior Brandon Richmond, both combining for 148 tackles last season, will look to continue success in the defensive backfield this year.
Anthony said it’s exciting to get another chance to take the field this spring.
“Spring ball is an awesome opportunity for us to continue developing as a team on both sides of the ball,” Anthony said. “It’s a unique chance for us to get to go head-to-head with our own guys, which will make it really fun, and it will show us where we stand at this point in the off-season.”
Along with the positives coming into the spring, Dorrel said there are specific areas the team will be focusing on.
“For me, I think we have to be better on offensive line play than we were last fall,” Dorrel said. “Obviously we have to see that improve offensive wise. We also have new faces at linebacker, someone will have to step up to replace Sam Denmark.”
Dorrel also said he will look to see improvement from his team in stopping the run, as well as cleaning up aspects of special teams.
With a disappointing 2-9 overall finish in the 2017 season, the Wildcats will certainly look to make its strides in achieving a better record for the 2018 campaign, and that prep work begins this spring.