Fairmont State put together one of the best seasons in program history last fall, but after a 62-13 loss to Indiana (Pa.) in their first ever NCAA Division II playoff game, the Falcons were left feeling empty.
“Last year, we didn’t win a national championship or a conference championship,” said senior defensive lineman Quincy Redmon, “so what did we really win?”
When the Falcons reported to camp Friday, they did so with refocused expectations.
“We didn’t accomplish anything,” said fifth-year head coach Jason Woodman. “We had a good season, but our ultimate goal is to be the best in the country. Until we do that, we’re going to keep working until we accomplish that, and we’re going to keep working even after that.”
The Falcons were tabbed third in the Mountain East Conference preseason poll. For them to be the best team in the MEC alone, they’ll rely on a strong defense that returns the likes of Redmon, the conference’s reigning defensive player of the year.
“We know we have a group of guys over there that have bought in and done everything that we’ve asked them to do to be successful,” said Woodman. “We know the mindset on that side of the ball is where it needs to be.”
On offense, several weapons return, including MEC offensive freshman of the year Laurence King, but the Falcons have to fill three holes on the offensive line, and find a replacement for quarterback Cooper Hibbs.
Woodman said he’s excited to see which quarterback will emerge during camp.
“In our offense, we don’t count on that guy being the big, huge playmaker, but he needs to manage the game,” said Woodman. “That’s going to be key for us through the fall.”
The Falcons still believe they have a lot to prove, and when their first test of the season rolls around on Aug. 31 in Fairmont, their leaders say they’ll be ready.
“A lot of guys have been here all summer, just ready to ball,” said Redmon. “Everybody’s ecstatic about the season.”