PIMA — The Roughriders learned some valuable lessons in their 2018 season that have stuck with the returning players for 2019: Check your ego at the door and play as one.
The coaches have changed up player positions, and players have expressed commitment to the new paradigm.
Senior Brennon Hughes said, “Last year was a little rough. We had a lot of seniors, so we were expecting to do a lot better. We struggled with team unity. This year, coach put us in positions to better the team and provide the best outcome.”
On top of the positioning shift, Pima players have been putting in extra time to build strength and hone their skills.
“We had quite a few guys in the weight room over the summer, so that’s exciting. Our seniors really stepped up to get us in there,” Hughes said.
You’ll be seeing Hughes in the right guard slot this year.
“I plan to keep the morale up and the opposition off our quarterback,” he said.
Trevor Pruszynski will contribute in the fullback and defensive line. “To keep improving every day and get those wins, I want to help us stay working as a team and come out here every day, come early, stay as a unit by doing family team things. When it comes to games, I want to be aggressive and get everyone mad and knock a bunch of people down.”
Head coach John Bryant has adjusted to the face of the team in the wake of almost the entire offensive line graduating last year, including the quarterback and running back.
“We have a lot of new players this year that didn’t play last year, and I’m impressed with them. A lot of them are playing line, and some are seniors,” Bryant said. “I think we’ll be a lot better as we get more experience. I think our quarterback, who didn’t play last year, is going to come on and really help us. I think our running backs are going to be better this year. And once we get some experience, I think we’ll play some good D. It might take a few games.”
With all these young faces, Bryant will be looking for execution on every offensive play.
“We have a good group of seniors and we have really good attitudes, so I believe they can lead and they will,” he said. “I look for them all to step up. Everyone has a good attitude and is ready to play, and that’s all a coach can ask for. I’m very optimistic.”