The USF football team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2014 last fall, but returns plenty of talent as the Cougars attempt to make their way back to the postseason.
USF finished with a 7-4 record a year ago, with their four losses coming by a combined 18 points, which has the Coo stressing the importance of every single play.
“I think we preach in the locker room and out on the football field is the little things matter and you can tell with those right there, I mean it’s the little things and all we are doing right now is focusing on the smallest things possible, the little techniques. One step changes the play from a three yard gain to a three yard loss,” Redshirt Senior Safety Tucker Stout said.
Though they return twenty starters from a year ago, that experience only matters if each player has taken the steps to get better.
“Our challenge is, are you going to be a year older or a year better? There’s a big difference in my mind and I really believe that our guys have taken that to heart, with the off season that they have had and the way they’ve worked,” Head Coach Jon Anderson said.
USF’s offense averaged over 33 points a contest last year, and with Harlan Hill finalist Gabe Watson, and second year quarterback Caden Walters returning, they’ll look to be even better in 2019.
“A lot of big plays, I mean I feel like coach Chapin has done an amazing job in the off season putting in some awesome schemes. Whether it’s on the ground or through the air, Caden’s going to make them pay, I’m going to make them pay. We’ve got Thuro Reisdorfer, Winston Maxwell, Ja’tai Jenkins in the backfield with me. I mean it’s an exciting season and we’ve got a lot of great guys,” Senior running back Gabe Watson said.
The defense ranked third in the conference last season in scoring. With all 11 starters back, it should challenge to be the NSIC’s best.
“Oh man nasty, absolutely nasty. We’ve got some great d-lineman, we’ve got Brody and Mike at linebacker, amazing DB’s and as soon as Hakeem comes back, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with also. It looks real good and real excited. I hate going against them so I know other team’s are going to hate it too,” Watson said.
The Cougars open the regular season Thursday, September 5th at Concordia-St. Paul. Kickoff is set for 6:00.