Football team targets character building as it continues to preserve through COVID-19 restrictions


CWU athletics

CWU’s football team participating in a ROTC winter condition last year inside the field house of Nicholson Pavilion.

Gabriel Strasbaugh, Staff Reporter

The Wildcats’ return has the football team preparing for a season that’s better late than never. Despite the continuation of the pandemic, the football team’s 2020 season is in the final stages to get into competitive gameplay. 

While off from classes, winter conditioning has the players keeping up their workout regimens for not just themselves, but their teammates as well. 

Junior Linebacker Daeon Hudson said the team’s first mindset is what defines the culture in the locker room. 

“We hold ourselves accountable,” Hudson said. “Keep in contact through ourselves and within our groups like defense.” 

Part of their accountability is presenting individual progress with the players in each positional group. 

“We be taking pictures of the work that we’ve done for that day. When you see your brothers doing their thing, it motivates you like I can’t let them down,” Hudson said. 

Inspiration has now claimed its spot atop of the Wildcats’ checklist heading into the season. 

Last season the Wildcats’ defense gave up an average of 29 points per game. With the core group of players still intact with a strong junior and senior foundation, the defense is looking to cut that number down to swing clock possession in the Wildcats’ favor and present more scoring for their offense. The final six games of the previous season showed the turning of the tide for the Wildcats, as they did not come up short on the scoreboard for the rest of the year. 

Success on both sides of the ball are results from the difference in culture in the locker room. 

According to Hudson, the culture now resembles the 2017 team whose sole loss came in the postseason. A willingness by each person on the team to speak their thoughts and feelings. 

“We got a hundred people on the team, players, coaches and all. And we all come from different backgrounds. So, we all have to come together to make the one,” Hudson said. 

The coaching staff has now adapted their winter conditioning to feature more of an emphasis this season on character building; you being the change while inspiring others to follow suit. 

Offensive Coordinator Zachary Tinker said the emphasis on unity is just part of the plans and lessons they as a staff persist to instill in the players. 

“It hits all of our core values of character strength and honor. The concept of perseverance knowing that the tough times won’t last,” Tinker said. 

In regard to the university, following government regulations continue to impact the team’s plans in the foreseeable future. 

Head coach Chris Fisk said that the adversity continuing just makes his team stronger. 

“I think one thing [COVID-19] has taught is to appreciate and be excited about what you do have, and what you can do. We will make the most of it,” Fisk said.  “We’ll have to make a few adjustments to our winter conditioning due to some of the close quarter combative contact stuff we would do in the past.”

Fisk said the first day the team will meet in person since winter break will be Martin Luther King Day, with their first conditioning tentatively scheduled for Jan.19.