CWU looks to rebound and take accountability after a rough first outing since 2019

CWU looks to rebound and take accountability after a rough first outing since 2019

Gabriel Strasbaugh, Staff Reporter

The Wildcat football team began their 2021 campaign with a 59-3 loss on the road against Montana. Changes to the roster forced back-ups into starting roles without much warning. Two-time All-American running back Michael Roots’ recent announcement to enter the NCAA transfer portal led to him not playing in the matchup against Montana. Roots led the Wildcats in rushing yards the last two seasons (’18-’19). 

Coach Fisk said the decision to not start Roots was better in the long run for the team. 

“Michael Roots informed us on the Thursday before the game, he would no longer be with our program starting Monday that he would enter the transfer portal and leave the football team,” Fisk said. “I felt what was best for our team, maybe not best for the outcome of the game, certainly, but I think what was best for our team and what we’re trying to build here in terms of accountability moving forward. We go ahead and part ways at that point instead of the following Monday.” 

Fisk said he stands by his choice to not let Roots travel and play with the team. 

“Whether that’s a good decision or a bad decision, that’s the decision I made and that’s the decision we live with. We’ve always had a next man’s up philosophy here at Central Washington and we’ve got a ton of confidence in those other running backs,” Fisk said. 

The loss to Montana, Fisk said, is a good learning experience for the new backs. 

“I think those guys learned a ton about themselves they need to get better at,” Fisk said. 

The Wildcat’s performance was not to the team’s potential. 

“Within our wall, we know we can play better than how we played. Especially on the offensive side of the ball,” Fisk said. “Anytime you’re replacing an offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator, two coordinators, this is your first time on the field with both of them and throw in the mix we haven’t played football in 500 days, we struggled. We learn things from these experiences.” 

In terms of accountability, the view of the team is based on their film. The only tape of the team in a game situation is the material that the other teams and media use to prepare or judge the Wildcats.

“You are what you are on film,” Fisk said. “We’ve got to all take accountability of what we are on film, whether you’re a coach or player. That process begins on Monday.”

Roots declined to comment on his decision to leave the program and not playing against Montana.