By Tyler Trumbauer
At the end of Northwestern’s second session of the day on Tuesday there were a lot of groans coming from the players when head coach Josh Snyder was addressing the team. Except these groans weren’t about football, the players were upset when he mentioned school starting on Monday.
With the start of school comes the first football game of the season and that news solicited a lot of cheers from the tired team under the hot late-afternoon sun.
The players aren’t just excited for 2013. Head coach Josh Snyder is as well.
“With having 19 starters back from last season, we are excited with the experience that they will be bringing,” Snyder exclaimed. “Just that natural maturity that teenagers make from year to year with the reps over the summer makes us excited. They are getting older as individuals and that helps as well.”
One of the key returners from last year’s squad that finished with a 3-7 record is junior quarterback Frankie DeAngelo. DeAngelo earned the starting job last year as a sophomore and Snyder said he is still confident with him under center.
“He was a sophomore last year and took a lot of lumps. At the same time we didn’t help him out in the run game and put a lot of pressure on him. We put a lot of emphasis on our run game this offseason to take that pressure off of him. We want to run some option with him and let the receivers spread the field as well.”
Snyder is also looking for DeAngelo’s offensive cohort, Justin Bets, at the tight end position to help tremendously in their offensive attack which has been altered a bit this season. Snyder says that he is trying to increase the tempo of the offense and run more plays in a game which is all in an effort to keep defenses on their toes through four quarters of a contest.
Defensively for the Tigers, Snyder said he watched a lot of tape in the offseason. After many film sessions he concluded that they need to focus on stopping their opponents’ running games. The Colonial League is a predominantly running league and Snyder wants to be more aggressive running a 4-4 scheme on that side of the ball.
Snyder is entering his second season ever as a head coach. Before he took the position at Northwestern he was an assistant in various roles for different organizations. He admits that there are some things he is doing differently this year than last.
“We have instilled a different philosophy on the field that includes being fast and playing harder with more emotion. To be honest, it was my first year as a head coach and the season went fast. I definitely learned a lot. Just like a player, with more experience the game slows down. So far this season has slowed down. I have learned to separate time for the administrative tasks with the coaching tasks. It is a delicate balance that I need to master.”
With everything that has transpired in the offseason and during camp so far, Snyder and his coaching staff have positive expectations for this season.
“Every year as long as I’ll be the head coach is to make playoffs. Playing in that 11th week is what you play for. You don’t start the preseason willing to settle. We set lofty goals here. We worked extremely hard in the offseason and in the weight room. If we execute, we can be a legitimate team to play in that 11th week.”
The Tigers three wins last season came against Wilson, Salisbury and Palmerton. Their best victory was against the Wilson Warriors which was by a score of 27-20. A more experienced field captain in DeAngelo will be very beneficial for Northwestern. The Tigers want to be playing in the postseason and it will come down to DeAngelo and the offensive’s production as the season goes along. The junior quarterback is the lead brick layer for their path to the playoffs, which will need to be laid perfectly this season if the Tigers want to end up contenders instead of pretenders.