“Are you ready for some football?”
It may not be time for the 2015 kickoff yet, but practice is in full swing for the Griffon football team.
Coming off of a year that was considered “bad” by Missouri Western standards, the Griffons will look to improve upon their 7-4 record from last season.
The first step in improving a team for the long run is recruiting. The Griffons signed 24 new players this offseason, a mix of freshmen and junior college transfers.
Head coach Jerry Partridge is excited about the incoming class.
“It wasn’t a gigantic class, we had a very small senior class,” Partridge said. “I think there are some good kids in it.”
The small senior class last season meant that Missouri Western was a rather inexperienced team last season. The O-line, despite its size, had trouble finding the blocks they needed to. Also, it did no favors to quarterbacks TJ LaFaver and Skyler Windmiller, who were both experiencing their first season in the MIAA.
On offense, the line was not alone in sharing the inexperience.
The Griffons receiving core was also without a big playmaker, like it had had in previous years, which put more pressure on the quarterbacks.
Partridge believes that this year’s experience resembles the experience that the 2012 team had.
“We have a pretty good senior class,” Partridge said. “Again, we had a tough year, but it was 7-4. I feel good about the starting groups. We have as much experience as we’ve had since the 2012 team… I’m not saying we are that good, but we have the potential to be.”
The quarterback position at Missouri Western is one of some interest. Last season, we saw LaFaver and Windmiller sub in and out without one really making a strong case as why they should be the starter.
“It’s Skyler Windmiller’s job right now,” Partridge said. “TJ LaFaver has had some concussion issues, so we are more concerned with getting him back and ready to go. After what happened last year, Skyler is the guy at this moment, but it is always open for competition. If Skyler does not hold on to his job, and TJ continues to work hard and progress, who knows?”
While several fans are concerned about the current state of the new stadium, Partridge doesn’t seemed too concerned about it for now.
“I think we are concerned about having the field ready for when we have practice; the stands themselves won’t affect us,” Partridge said. “We haven’t had an overlap period with Chiefs camp and our practice for two or three years; this year that will be back. So, we will be having meetings in Agenstein and having to practice indoors.”
The Griffons will have a home this season, which was up in the air, and they know who the starting quarterback will be. That adds up to what could be a great season for Griffon football and will, at the very least, be fun to watch.