Just a handful of practices into training camp, first-year Wilmington College football coach Bryan Moore likes some of what he sees with his Fightin’ Quakers football team.
There are things, though, he doesn’t like.
What? You expected a coach to be “totally” satisfied with their squad?
“Obviously, everybody’s sloppy at this time of year,” Moore said following a practice session last week at Townsend Field. “Mentally and emotionally I thought we were engaged. The excitement was there. The intensity was there.
“The execution was still pretty bad, so that puts us behind a little bit there.”
As his team continues its preparation for the 2017 season opener Sept. 2 at home against Earlham, Moore has been encouraged — surprised would be equally fitting in this case — with the reaction to Wilmington College football since he was hired in December.
“We had four recruiting days (in the summer) and they generated over 100 (high school junior) visits … and we haven’t even started our season yet,” he said. “Within an hour radius, the reception has been fantastic. In our immediate back yard, there’s still excitement about Wilmington College football … it’s not dead, it’s not buried.”
That students could tour the WC campus when football wasn’t being played could be considered be a blessing.
To note, Fightin’ Quakers football hasn’t had much fight in it recently:
• 39 straight losses in Ohio Athletic Conference play.
• 3-77 record the past eight years.
• 17-113 record since many of the current players were in kindergarten.
“We are not going to stray from being us,” said Moore. “The scoreboard will not define our culture. WE are going to define our culture.”
Some might claim that’s simply a coach who knows he can’t win taking the pressure off his squad.
But Moore exudes a passion and displays a work ethic that when combined leads him to believe one day he’ll be able to offer the outlook of a contending season.
“People ask me ‘How many games can you win?’ this season,” Moore said, recalling recent media day outings when such lifeless queries are the norm.
“We’ll never talk about it (win totals),” he said. “Our history is not good enough to make predictions.’”
Moore’s seniors, who have been through their share of setbacks, told the coaches not to change a thing.
“We talked to the seniors and asked ‘What could we do better as coaches?’” Moore said. “They said keep your staff doing what they’re doing. We can tell you guys care about us. So I think there is a connection with the players and the coaches. We want to get this done. We are committed to get this done. We know there are going to be bad days ahead of us, but we are ready to take on that adversity.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports