CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Fairmont State head coach, Jason Woodman, addressed the media at Tuesday’s virtual MEC Media Day.
As 12 Sports reported last week, 21 months will have passed between the Fighting Falcons’ most recent regular season game, and the season opener this year.
It means a lot of new name and new faces for Fairmont State.
“I know we have a lot to prove, and I know that the teams in the conference are very talented,” Woodman said. “We are unproven.
“We think we’re pretty good. We have a lot of confidence in our players, but we do know that we’re unproven and we have to go out and earn a lot of stuff.”
Fairmont State has eight practices under its belt this fall, which is already more than what they were able to have during last fall, winter and during the spring.
The Fighting Falcons haven’t played a game since November of 2019, after not being able to play during the modified spring season earlier this year.
“Without any practices last fall, and only a handful in the spring, with a bunch of young guys pretty much like everybody else in the country, we basically have two freshmen classes coming back,” said Woodman. “We’re excited to be back on the field. If we got anything out of this, it’s that we appreciate the game and the opportunity to go out there every day and do what we like to do.”
Fairmont State was picked to finish sixth in the MEC preseason poll, which could be based a lot on the unknown says Woodman.
“We don’t know what we have, let alone the other coaches knowing what we have,” said Woodman. “The only thing, as coaches, we can go off of is how the season ended the last year, and kind of guess what’s coming back. For us, you know, I think everybody has the same expectation. If I could vote on us, I probably would put us in the same place.”
Woodman is still not willing to name a starting quarterback at this point. His quarterback room is made up of five players, none of which have MEC playing experience.
Former Fairmont Senior quarterback, Connor Neal, does have the advantage of being on the Fairmont State roster as a redshirt freshman during the 2019 season. But for Woodman, it’s still too early to tell who will lead the Fighting Falcons under center.
“We have three guys who were here in the spring. So, we have a few guys who have a little bit more experience than the others, but that’s still not very much,” said Woodman. “You can put them in the fire as much as you can in practice, but until you get them in the game, it’s just not the same.”
Asked about the leadership on his team, Woodman says he’s seen the handful of players that do have MEC experience take the charge in leading the younger players, and giving them their knowledge of what to expect this season.
“The older guys that we do have have done a really good job with that,” says Woodman. “I think that they understand the challenge ahead, too. I think that they know, as teammates, they have to get some of the younger guys ready to play.”
Fairmont starts the season against California U (PA) and then plays some of the top-rated teams in the conference based on the preseason poll.