Many of the starting players from last year’s Boxer offense graduated in June.
This has brought about one of the team’s biggest challenges, rebuilding after a senior season. Even though the team has lost important offensive players, the team’s defense has high expectations.
Last season, Boxer football graduated its three starting receivers, starting quarterback, starting running back and a few offensive linemen.
This has caused the Boxers to bring new starting offensive players up to speed quickly. However, the team is more focused on looking ahead rather than focusing on the alumni football players.
Head coach Keith Buckley has confidence in the Boxer’s defensive side.
“Defensively we have a chance to be really good, and the front seven of our defensive line and linebacker crew is experienced and talented,” coach Buckley said. “We have a ton of confidence in that group and we’re excited to see where they go.”
Senior players see this as a huge opportunity.
“I’m excited because this really presents a new challenge,” senior offensive linemen and right guard Kennon Quiocho said. “We never really had an opportunity when we were young because there were all the four-year seniors, all those years from building up from a start up. We have our culture, our values, everything set in stone now.”
Returning student athletes in general share a certain bond with each other.
“There is a unity in the team’s goals and their drive. I think that the most clear example of that actually began last year during the off season with all the returners coming back to continue,” coach Buckley said. “When you have 130 guys on a football team, you don’t have 130 best friends, you have 130 brothers.”
As far as goals go, the Boxers want to be the best that they can possibly be.
“Our goal is to go as far as we possibly can. We obviously want to bring in a championship, but we also want to work on rebuilding our offense.” sophomore starting right tackle Nolan Wright said.
There is no huge pressure on achieving anything specific, the team just wants play football as best as they can. As well as doing the best they can do on the field, the team wants to apply this mentality off the field as well.
“Doing the little things right, such as things outside of the field and in the classroom. We want to emphasize on the culture of what we want to be,” Quiocho said.
So, what is there to expect overall from the football team this season?
“We’re expecting a lot more explosive plays from the offensive side and creating chaos on the defensive side of the ball,” Quiocho said.
Chaos means there’s more freedom to execute at a faster tempo compared to previous years. Since there’s this heavy weight put on the defensive side this year, the Boxer’s aim is to create chaos for the offensive side they’re playing against. The team also has been working on picking up the tempo of their plays, so it’s expected to see a lot more exciting plays.
“There’s a lot of talented football players that we have. The true sign of a good football program is being able to overcome graduation with new talent. You can expect us to be playing an entertaining and exciting brand of football,” coach Buckley said.
The Boxers will look for their first win Sept. 17 as they travel to Hawaii to play Occidental University.