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Mountain Lion Football Prepares for 2015 Season

By Tyler Jackson
On August 27, 2015

Calvinaugh Jones and the rest of the Concord Mountain Lions are looking forward to another great season. 
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As fall rolls in, so do Saturdays full of college football. Last Wednesday, head football coach of the Concord University Mountain Lions, Garin Justice, met with the media to talk about the team’s first week of practice and how things were going with the squad. Justice began the conference by stating the team has had a good week of practice and that nothing is set in stone.

“We have a lot of position battles going on. I think it’s fair to say players like Calvinaugh (Jones) and Brian (Novak) will be in the starting lineup, Coleman Osborne, people like that, but for the most part everything’s still open as far as what we’re doing with our position battles.”

Some players who have a longer path to the starting lineup include some highly touted freshmen that Coach Justice said would be in contention for playing time.

“Along the defensive line you’re looking at guys like Justin Noble and Noah Hancock (who) will play. Keionte Gainey who was here in the spring, he’ll be a freshman but he will play. We still have a couple defensive backs we’re still evaluating. I think they definitely give us something on special teams but we have to evaluate whether the time spent on defense will be enough to burn that redshirt.”

Among freshmen who will be on the sidelines this fall is Wyoming County’s Justin Cogar who turned down a scholarship offer from Toledo to walk on at WVU and transfer from Morgantown to Athens after a summer of classes. While Cogar may not see a lot of playing time this year, he is in a battle for the backup quarterback position, Justice said.

“Him (Cogar) and Garrett Cropp have been battling back and forth splitting team reps. I feel like between those two guys one of them will be able to get the job done. Today I couldn’t tell you [which one will get the job done]. I know Garrett from the mental side of the game as far as what we want to do in our offense is probably a step ahead, but physically and being able to make plays because he’s a really good athlete, Cogar’s probably ahead.”

In addition to addressing the status of players on the field, Justice also addressed some of the pre-season accolades that some of his players and the team have received by down playing them and stating that while they are nice, his team can’t let those things blur their vision. Justice said he also wasn’t concerned with any added pressure that may come with those accolades.

“I think we put a high level of expectation on ourselves. I think once you do something one time it makes it easier to do it again. We have to ignore that outside noise. Those people don’t know what’s in our locker room and they don’t know what’s inside the other team’s locker room, so we have to take care of us, take each day at a time and stay true to our values. As long as we keep our focus everything should be fine.”

Staying true to focusing on the task at hand, Justice isn’t even looking ahead to the Week One matchup against West Liberty, but instead focused on getting through the practices that lead up to that showdown. Although Justice is taking each day as it comes, when it came to schedule creation, he did look ahead. This year Concord only plays ten games as opposed to the usual eleven. Justice said that this was due to the fact that most out of conference opponents that could be slotted in towards the end of the season already had games scheduled and were deep into conference play. 

Justice said his options were traveling across country for a Division II game or an FCS game, which carries the risk of getting your team beat up a week before the playoffs. If all goes as planned the Mountain Lions can use that week to rest up and prepare for a playoff game.

Concord opens its season September 5 at 1:00 p.m. in West Liberty, W.V.. 

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