After taking over after the first week of the official season in 2018, Coach Austen Robison is set for his first full season as the head coach of the Northwestern Tigers.
Last year, the team struggled with a 1-9 season, and Robison is hopeful the confidence and strength his players have built over the summer will show in the upcoming season.
“Our biggest thing this summer was weights,” Robison said. “They (the team) had a couple rough summers as far as being consistently in the weight room, so my biggest thing this summer was weights, weights, weights. And the kids knew it. We had 12 days where we could be in pads and could be hitting, and I think we only used 10 of them because they were just going to take attention away from the weight room. So, our kids are so much stronger now than they were a year ago at this time. With strength in football builds confidence, so they’re a little more confident this year than they were last year.”
After midnight practice on Monday morning last week, half the team went to Dan’s Variety Bakery to have donuts. The Tigers have become a very close team within the past year, according to Robison. He believes this will accumulate more wins this season as well.
“They’re friends, and I think that’s what’s kind of keeping this thing going,” Robison said.
With 53 kids on the roster, the coach has a good idea of the players who will be securing starting positions for the scrimmage. Junior Jaelen Fowler will be at fullback. Even after recovering from some baseball injuries in the spring, he has proven that he is ready for the football field. Returning linemen are Zain Loges as tight end and Kyle Carwell on the offensive line, as well as middle linebacker. Senior Nate Bilodeau also will be a starting middle linebacker, and returning all-conference player Bodey Henry will be the starting safety.
The quarterback position is still a toss-up between returning junior Jake Martin and Kokomo transfer Logan Caudill.
Northwestern will kick off its season at home in the scrimmage against the Pioneer Panthers this Friday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m.