How difficult is it to start a program from scratch? Just ask new Wesleyan Head Football Coach George Shehl.
"There were a lot of guys on the team when we first got here, and we didn't even know who half of them were," Shehl said. "They never showed up. We lost guys left and right. We had to get a bunch of new equipment. We rebuilt this thing from the ground up. There was nothing, and anything that was there, we got rid of it and did it our own way."
His own way is the only way it's going to be. Shehl is a Clarksburg native with ties to West Virginia University, after playing four years under Rich Rodriguez. His players say practice has been all about...
"Toughness," Bobcats senior cornerback Jermichael Kelley said. "Toughness sums it up in one word. Just be physical and tough; fly around and have fun."
They also admit George is a bit of a...
"Hard worker," Wesleyan senior lineman Marcus Spearman said. "He comes out here and sweats with us. He works hard and practices hard, just like us. So we're all just trying to get better every day."
So what's the biggest difference from last year to this year?
"Just the physicality and toughness. The speed is just totally different this year than it's ever been," Bobcats junior lineman Chris Thearle said.
Rebuilding is almost an understatement when talking about this year's Bobcats. Shehl welcomes in 65 freshman this season. It will be a youthful group who will need to learn on the job.
"Being as young as we are, we need to continue to get better each week. Each week is going to kind of be a training camp of its own. Once we get three or four weeks into the season, then hopefully we'll catch up and be where I think we need to be."
All-American punt returner and receiver LaVaughn Hughes will help steer the Bobcats back on track. Former WVU Mountaineer wideout Connor Arlia will also give the team a much-needed boost on offense. But this year's Wesleyan group will depend on a physical style of play in order to return the program to its glory days.
"I'm sick of going against black and orange. I've got to see something else. I'm tired of playing each other. I'm really looking forward to the game. I think our guys are too. I think they're finally ready to tee it up and play," Shehl said.