Pacific University’s football team’s hard work and determination has resulted in great improvements and ultimately, their first win in two decades.
Looking back on the 2011 season, head coach Keith Buckley said that in many regards, he treats the whole season as a success. For him the three games that Pacific held the lead at half time along with the 44-25 win against Puget Sound University showed positive growth.
“We’re not satisfied with one win,” said Buckely. “That’s not the goal or drive, but given the youth of the team it’s a step forward.”
Buckley said that he could see the difference in his team this year. They were physically stronger and further advanced than last season due to the fact that half the team had a year of experience under their belt.
“This freshmen class developed faster because we had an older group of players who acted as mentors,” said Buckley.
The Boxers faced some heavy hitters like Linfield College and Lewis & Clark University and the Boxers 1-8 overall record showed their struggle as a new program. The turning point that reflected the growth of the program came Oct. 29 during Pacific’s homecoming game against PSU.
“It was good to get the monkey off our back with the win and move forward with the program,” said Buckley. “It was a good day for Pacific football. For me, it was exciting to see how happy the kids were.”
Buckley said that finishing the game how they did and winning how they did is proof of the direction the Boxers are headed.
According to Buckley, the Boxers are going to continue improving the program in the off-season.
“Things we worked on this season like team cohesion and leadership we will continue to work on in the off season,” said Buckley.
Although the coaches can’t practice with the players until the end of February, the Boxers will still work out with offensive line coach Ian Falconer in the weight room and the players will continue to get together to work on skills and attend unofficial practices.
Buckley stressed the importance of his players getting physically bigger and stronger and said success will follow after his team matures throughout their college careers.
For now the Boxer coaching staff will focus on recruiting players for next year’s squad.