By Annalise Ricciardulli
“One family, one fight” was their slogan, and they surely fought but ended in defeat each time. The HSU Jacks had a 2013 football season that was not comparable to any others under Head Coach Rob Smith. The season ended with a 0-11 record and a number of injured players. It is evident by the Jacks unsuccessful outcome that the strategies implemented last season did not work. This leaves fans and players alike wondering what new strategies are going to be put into place to assure a 2014 win.
Previous cheerleader and supportive HSU student-fan, Heather Mendoza, 19, said being a dedicated Jacks football fan this year was very disappointing especially when compared to previous seasons.
“I did not miss any of the home games and I was one of the few fans who would not leave after it was clear that the team was not going to win,” Mendoza said. “Additionally, the surplus of first string players who suffered injuries in the beginning of the season, negatively impacted the teams potential and mojo.”
He said that, from a fan’s perspective, the offense needs to hook up more between quarterback and receiver.
“If the ball touches your gloves, it is your responsibility to make a move and not be afraid to take a hit,” Mendoza said.
Last season’s mistakes should help shape next seasons strategies. Mendoza mentioned possible suggestions that will likely improve the teams outcome for following seasons.
“The team needs to join as one,” Mendoza said. “The players should consider one another as their brothers, they need to live out their slogan, one family, one fight.”
A true freshman Sutter Choisser, 19, felt that player injuries and excessive turnovers victimized the 2013 season.
Like Mendoza, Choisser agreed that the Jacks need to be in sync with one another.
“People played as individuals not as a team,” Choisser said. Because players did this, the Jacks game lacked the three phases, offense, defense, and special teams.
“Not turning the ball over would be huge, and limiting turn overs would change the game,” Choisser said regarding the upcoming season. “Getting back to how past teams played, like, running the ball a lot, and being more physical.”
Choisser said the incoming class seems promising.
“New recruits are strong even with the outcome of last season, and most of them are O-line and D-line,” Choisser said.
A previous HSU player and coach, Guy Joseph Ricciardulli, 25, said for the upcoming season upperclassman leadership is going to be necessary, and the offensive line is going to need to develop and work together to strengthen the foundation they had from the 2013 season.
“They need to have their second and third string players develop and be ready to step in if the starters get injured,” Ricciardulli said. “The team needs to work on their team building over the summer so that they all have good camaraderie and everyone is accountable.”
It seems for the 2014 Jacks football season, players, coaches,and fans all agree team effort and unity is going to be a key component to having a successful season. But for now only time will tell if the efforts made in offseason will pay off and lead to a 2014 winning season. The Jacks 2014 journey begins on Sept. 6 with a season opener in Texas.