It’s springtime. The air is warm. The birds are chirping. And starting Monday, Chadron’s football team will rise from its winter hibernation and hit the gridiron.
Head coach Jay Long emphasized the team’s focused mindset when discussing spring training.
“We’re very excited to get spring ball started,” Long said. “They players are sick of the drama and are ready to play football. Our guys are very positive.”
The Eagles will play their spring game April 21.
This is Long’s first season coaching the Eagles. Having spent just four weeks on the job, he’s already impressed by what he sees.
“[The team is] just exactly what I expected,” Long said. “They’re hard working, ‘effort’ football players, and they expect to win.”
Long also discussed the team’s options at quarterback for the upcoming season, but did not predict who would be starting. Last year, sophomore Jonn McLain of Chadron started under center, but his season was cut short by a wrist injury after two games. Junior Brandon Gorsuch of Rapid City, S.D., played the remaining ten games, throwing for 2089 yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
“Every day is a competition,” Long said. “The great thing about spring ball and a new coach is each guy comes in with a clean slate and they get to prove themselves.”
Another area of concern is the team’s defensive backfield. Riddled with injuries last season, the Eagles’ secondary was patched together with players from other positions. Long thinks that the team’s recent recruiting efforts are a step in the right direction. Thirteen of the 44 incoming players are defensive backs.
“Looking at the film [of the recruits],” Long said, “we definitely filled that void.” Long said.