Kennesaw State football is finally back. We’ve waited all year, and the time is finally here as head coach Brian Bohannon and the Owls finish up training camp in preparation for their Aug. 31 season opener at Samford University.
With high expectations for the program, training camp is a perfect opportunity for the players to show coach Bohannon both their physical skills and winning attitudes to help take the team to new heights.
The grueling two-week training camp began July 27, under hot and humid conditions that tested the will of veterans and new players alike. For everyone in the organization, the effort put into camp will set the tone for the rest of the season, and it is clear that the team is on board with Bohannon’s vision.
“It was a great feeling to get back on the field with my teammates today,” said junior linebacker Anthony Gore Jr. “We wanted to come prepared today and have a good mindset. The mentality is to be aggressive.”
One of the most important concepts that Bohannon has emphasized over the course of training camp is consistency. During last season’s successful campaign, the offense was frequently brilliant but had the tendency to fall into slumps, going almost full quarters without a single first down. This year, Bohannon wants his team to have a complete performance every game, which can only happen if complete performances are put forth in practice.
“Camp is setting in for the guys, but I’m starting to see us fight through it,” Bohannon said. “We’ve talked about being consistent on a certain level, and the days that you don’t feel good are the days that you’re really going to gain on that.”
There are a couple of star players looking to build on last season’s success that students should have on their watch list. On offense, quarterback Chandler Burks looks to lead the Owls with his elusiveness and cannon of an arm. Running back Darnell Holland looks to improve on his 400+ yard rushing season, and wide receiver Justin Sumpter, who had eight touchdown receptions last season, looks to dominate even more.
Defensively, the three leading tacklers from last season — Gore Jr., Izzy Sam and Tonarius Portress — are all returning. The defense was crucial to last season’s success, holding teams like Clark Atlanta University to zero points in last season’s 56-0 massacre.
Perhaps the highest expectations for the upcoming season rest on Chandler Burk’s shoulder pads as he was named to the College Football Performance Award’s National Performer of the Year Trophy Watch List. This award is contended for by 42 different players in the FCS who played exceptionally well the previous season. Burks accounted for over 2,000 total yards last season, helping the Owls become one of the most potent offenses in the FCS. Having been the starting quarterback for most of last season, Burks now has the experience — and the talent — to lead the Owls on a successful 2017 campaign.