By Duane Cochran
For the Times West Virginian
Fairmont State University’s football team and its new coaching staff will be on the field together for the first time today when the Falcons open spring drills at 6 p.m. at Duvall-Rosier Field.
First-year head coach Jason Woodman says he and his staff are eager to evaluate approximately 60 players live for the first time this season.
“More than anything, having the chance to see the guys live and in person out on the field is really going to help us evaluate them better,” said Woodman, who is embarking on his first head-coaching stint. “You can only evaluate so much in the weight room and gym from seeing them going through agility drills. Actually having them on the field in their respective positions, running around in space and seeing guys passing, catching and running with the ball makes a big difference.
“This is the time where the pieces of the puzzle start to come together for us. We’re going to be able to tell who is going to play what position for us and judge how guys are going to best fit into our offensive and defensive schemes. That’s going to be a big part of the early portion of spring drills.”
One of the main goals for Woodman and his staff this spring is changing the attitudes of their current players in the program, who have only had one winning season in recent years.
“There’s a lot of newness around our program,” said Woodman. “It’s a new year and a new season. We’ve got a new coaching staff and we’re going to have a lot of new players.
“One of our goals this spring is to change the culture and attitude of our current players who are here now. They need to realize their goals need to be different than what they’ve been in the past. They need to understand that the major goal at the end of the day can only be accomplished if they take care of each and every little detail and do it right. We really plan on stressing that a lot. We want a different mentality on this team when we come out of spring drills.”
Something else that will take place this spring is a wealth of learning from both players and coaches alike. Under Woodman, who came to FSU after spending two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Bowie State University, Fairmont will employ different schemes on both offense and defense next fall.
“There’s definitely going to be a lot of learning,” said Woodman. “We expect the guys to learn a lot from us, and as coaches we’re going to learn a lot about them and from them as well.
“As far as installing stuff, we’re only going to have about five install days and a lot of it is going to be basic. We want to get really good at the basic things before we move forward. I think that’s one key to being successful.
“Also, we’re looking to bring in about 35 players in the fall, and a lot of those players are going to be counted on to play and fill holes for us.”
Fairmont State is expected to hold 14 spring practice sessions including the annual Maroon-White Spring Game, which will be played Thursday, April 25, at 7 p.m. at Duvall-Rosier Field.