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Aggies Sports

WRAPPING UP 2008, LOOKING AHEAD TO 2009

Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2008 by Staff
With the 2008 season in the bank, Aggie head football coach Mike Wyatt looks back on the year.

How do you feel about the Aggies 2008 season?
"We made some strides as a program.  We still are a work in progress and we came close to having a .500 season.  We won 3 and played to triple overtime in another game.  Had we started off a little stronger in games one and two, we might well have ended up at 5-5."

"Defensively, we played well for most of the year.  The players we expected to make plays did just that.  Matt Warner played like the All American that he is.  Gus Overstreet and Will Turnbo both stepped up their play and had good seasons until Gus was felled by injury at Texas College.  Ben Lane had a strong season, as did newcomer Saul Jimenez and veteran Nathan Barclay.  Dyran Wright and Andrew Walker came on strong at the end of the year, as well.

Freshmen Herbet Grogan and Desmond Horn both proved they could play at the DII level.  JC Ramirez also stepped up his game at linebacker, as did Quintin Green at corner and Steven McAlpine at safety.

The good news is that all that bunch returns for 2008, excluding Warner and Barclay."

Offensively, Darryl Brister, Jose Mendoza, and Zach McCaskill all proved they can run the ball wih the best of them.  Vinnie Gay proved to be the kind of leader a young team needs at the quarterback position.  Christopher Pearson proved he could be a capable receiver and Chad Sauceda also had his moments.  Greg Fortner did a good job at tight end, as well.

The offensive line showed sparks of improvement.  They still have a lot of work to do this off season, but freshmen Bryan Burke, Joffrey Wallace and Curtis Roberts  all gained valuable experience this season.  Also sophomore Gilbert Pedraza and junior Quinton Jones also played well.

All that group returns on offense, as well.

We will miss WR Johnathan Williams, OG Johnathan Wyatt and Teron Guidry who will be graduating." stated Wyatt.

Special Teams were improved for the most part.  Patrick Klein did a great job with the kicking chores after being thrust into that role.  Of course, Brister, Pearson and Ben Lane also provided some excitement during the year.  Drew Parker was also a steady performer on all special team, as well."

So, we have a lot of positives to look back on and to look forward to in the future."  Wyatt noted.

What are the biggest needs for the Aggies in 2009?
"We need to have a GREAT off-season program.  We need to get everyone healed up and then get bigger stronger and fast.

We also need another good recruiting class to go with the players who are here.

We need to find a replacement for Matt Warner which will be no easy task.

We need to pick up a couple of mid-term transfers that can help give us competition in the offensive line.  We can also use a linebacker, defensive back and a big play receiver.

We also need to pick up a kicker that can blast the ball deep on kickoffs. " Wyatt told.

How does the schedule change in 2009?
We drop off some opponents and pick up some new ones.  Tabor, Eastern New Mexico and Colorado State-Pueblo will be off the schedule, but we will pick up Southwestern College of Kansas, the University of the Incarnate Word from San Antonio, Southwest Assemblies of God University, and Truman State.

We will have an 11 game schedule in 2009.

We need to be ready when the season starts next fall as we open on the road at Durango, Colorado with Ft. Lewis College, then we travel to Kirksville, Missouri, to face Truman State in week 2."

Will there be any changes in the coaching staff in 2009?

"We don't anticipate many changes.  Of course, as is the nature of this profession, we may have some coaches that get other offers.  Right now, it looks to be business as usual, but only time will tell how things will shape up for the fall."

When will spring football drills get underway?
"Of course, everything in that regard in tentative, but we anticipate beginning practices right after spring break in late March of 2009, running through mid-April."  We have 15 practices, including the spring game, to get in over a 29 calendar day period.  More info on that will be forthcoming."

What will the future hold for Matt Warner?
"Matt deserves a shot at the next level.  He knows that it is a difficult task to make it in pro football.  He played all season with a target on his chest and still finished #2 nationally in solo tackles and #8 in total tackles, after being named pre-season All American and after having been #2 in both categories in 2007.

We'll be sending out info on him to various scouts and pro teams and we will keep our fingers crossed.  He reminds me of  Zach Thomas from Texas Tech who was a long time Miami Dolphin and current member of the Dallas Cowboys.  He's a working man's linebacker.  He will come up and rock you on the run.

He deserves a shot and we'll be keeping our fingers crossed for him"

What is the significance of the 2009 season?
"Of course, OPSU celebrates her 100th anniversary.  OPSU football is 90 years old, as well.  We are planning a couple of surprises during the season in conjunction with both.  "

Do you have any final words for 2008?
"I just would like to offer thanks to all who have supported our team and our efforts in 2008.  Our adminstration has been a part of our vision and plan and Dr. Bryant, OPSU  President and Dr. Wayne Manning, our Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dr. Larry Peters, Vice President of Fiscal Affairs have been great to work with.   As has, our Athletics Director, Jerry Olson and our fellow athletic staff members. 

A special thanks goes to Brian Lankford and his athletic training staff.  Their tireless efforts have contributed much toward our success.

We also appeciate the support of Jessica Lofland, Teri Curtis,  Charles Marks, and Ryan Dougherty in  Student Services and Housing. Bobby Jenkins and his staff in Admissions have also been great to help us, as has Eric Begley  and his group in High School Relations.

We also appreciate the efforts of Dr. Kathy Turner, our Faculty Athletic Representative, Scott Puryear, our Sports Information Director and Mel Riley, OPSU Financial Aid Director.

We also need to thank Dr. Wayne Stewart for his excellent job in being our home game announcer, as well as Russell Guthrie and his staff for broadcasting our games.

Kenny Gipe with our campus food services and his staff have also been great to work with, as has Andy Ramirez and his officers with the Goodwell Police and OPSU Campus Security.

We also want to than Amber Hollis-Fesmire and the OPSU Cheerleaders and Matthew Saunders with the OPSU music department for their support at home games.

Also, I want to thank all the faculty and staff who have supported us through the season.  There are too many to name, but we appreciate your support both on the field and in the classroom.

Finally, I want to commend Bob Scott and Bob Rivers and the grounds crew for their hard work in giving us an excellent fields on which to play and practice.

GO AGGIES!

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