Football team a work in progress

Lauren Roberts

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Hagen Hutchinson breaks a tackle while running towards the endzone during a scrimmage at the practice fields Thursday.

Hagen Hutchinson breaks a tackle while running towards the endzone during a scrimmage at the practice fields Thursday.

The first football game of the season is two weeks away and the team will be looking to put last year’s finish behind them. They ended 2013 with a overall record of 7-3, finished Lone Star Conference play at .500 with a 3-3 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Head Football Coach Bill Maskill said, “We’ve got to rebound from where we ended last year.”

Maskill said the team had the best off-season that they’ve ever had in the spring. The summer practices were good but not great. The Texas heat hasn’t been too bad for the team since there have been fewer practices in full-pads, but tension was still high in the practices last week. Two fights broke out between defensive and offensive players during a scrimmage Thursday.

Antoine Morris, sociology junior, said in explanation, “This is football.”

Morris played in three games last year at the rover position before he was sidelined with an injury. He was taking part in practices but will be a full participant this week. The team started fall practice Aug. 13 but is still working to get where Maskill wants them to be.

“We’re not anywhere that we need to be at this point. We still have a ways to go,” Maskill said.

New players include freshman and transfers that now have to learn a new system. Maskill said some of the players are ahead of others and some aren’t ready.

The team went into practices with 12 running backs, three more than they had last year. One that won’t be returning is Keidrick Jackson, who graduated from Midwestern with 4,004 career rushing yards. The most of any running back in school history. With 12 running backs the team will need to find one with the skill set that best works with their offensive scheme.

Maskill said, “We’ve got a ways to go. There’s a bunch of running backs. Everyone of these running backs have different skills than the other one. Some are better blockers, some are a little bit better runners, some are in better shape than others.”

Maskill said he believes that they have a talented group of running backs but the biggest challenge is getting them enough reps in practice so they can be properly evaluated.

Quade Coward passes during a drill at practice Thursday at the practice fields. Photo by Lauren Robert.

Quade Coward passes during a drill at practice Thursday at the practice fields. Photo by Lauren Robert.

In scrimmages yesterday we ran 63 plays through 10 running backs,” he said. “That is about six plays a piece. A running back is like a shooter. You have to get him the ball so he can do something.”

The quarterback position will also need to be addressed in the coming weeks before the first game.

“I’d like to think we’ll be a better passing team than we were last year. Jake Glover is running neck and neck with Quade Coward (for the quarterback position),” Maskill said.

Both of the quarterbacks are taking reps with the first team and it will come down wire with them. Like the running backs Maskill said that more scrimmages will allow the coaches to better evaluate who the starting quarterback will be. Saturday the team had a long scrimmage for practice. The longer scrimmage allowed the team to able to be able to go through all of the plays that they would want to run.

Cameron Williams, senior in criminal justice, said, “The scrimmage went very well because we got better on both sides of the ball. It gets us ready to be in the best shape and hone in our craft.”

In the season opener, for the first since 2011, the  team will not playing Tarleton State University, a team MWSU has lost to twice in the last three years.

SCHEDULE

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