Football is just around the corner and the ThunderWolves football team hopes to improve on a 12-2 record that took them to the quarterfinals of the Division II championship tournament. But Colorado State University-Pueblo Head Football Coach, John Wristen, has a different goal in mind for the team.
The Pack will play their first game on Thursday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Colorado School of Mines.
“The goal has never changed. I want our guys to go and give it their all and to raise their standards,” Wristen said.
“I want them to put their heads down and go to work for 60 minutes, if they give it their all that’s all anybody can ask for.”
Some of the ThunderWolves top performers from last year have graduated and are currently fighting for a spot on an NFL roster.
One of those top performers was Morgan Fox who set the school record for career sacks and sacks in a season.
Another top performer, Cameron McDondle, was a Harlon Hill Trophy contender for the best player in the country. Kieren Duncan was another great player that graduated and he was the team’s number one receiver. The team lost some value players last year.
“I don’t know if you replace guys like that,” said Wristen.
Wristen also talked about Ian Kelly doing a nice job at the defensive end spot along with Daniel Wise “stepping up” at the wide receiver spot in place of Duncan.
Last year, the offensive game plan was to run the ball and not much will change as the offense will still maintain that run attitude, according to Wristen, which means the team will continue to be a run-heavy offense, but he also wants to throw the ball better.
Thursday’s game will be aired on ESPN 3 and WatchESPN.
“It is quite an honor to open Division II college football on TV,” Wristen said.
“What a better place to do it than against your in-state rival Colorado School of Mines?”
Bernard McDondle looks to be the starter. Wristen has a stable of four guys that he feels comfortable with, including McDondle. The other three include senior Fradlet Dort, junior David Cardinal and red-shirt freshman, Austin Micci.
The wide receiver group might have a couple of hidden gems that might start to shine. Senior Daniel Wise. Junior Osha Washington and sophomore Cole Forsgren are the ones to keep an eye one.
The focus will still be on playing good defense according to Wristen. Senior Alex Belconis will be someone to watch, replacing Tony Campton at the nose tackle spot. Sophomore Brandon Payer will also get a chance to start at inside linebacker.
The expectations are high this year for the ThunderWolves as the American Football Association ranked the team at fifth in the nation in the preseason poll, while D2Football.com ranked Pack at third.
The Pack’s first home game will be on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 6 p.m. The new additions to the ThunderBowl are scheduled for completion by the end of September, according to Wristen.
See more images of the ThunderWolves football team’s first fall practice here
Edited by: Theresa Wolf