Chowan Hawks ready for week one, season
Published 1:13 pm Thursday, September 4, 2014
MURFREESBORO, N.C.—After having the best record in the school’s history in 2012, going 6-4, the Chowan University Hawks took a step back this past season, going 4-6. Head Coach Tim Place said it is time to get the program back on track.
“We didn’t get it done last year,” Place said. “They don’t pay us to make excuses, though — they pay us to find answers. And we feel pretty good about ourselves.”
This season, the Hawks kick off the 2014 season at home in Garrison Stadium against Fayetteville State University on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. in a non-conference matchup. The Broncos, who went 6-4 and 5-2 in CIAA play, are going to be tough, Place said.
“Last year, we went down there and lost in triple overtime,” he said. “This season, they were picked No. 2 in the preseason polls for the Southern division, with reference to the CIAA coaches, so we know they are going to be good.
“They have high expectations for playing for the conference championship, so that’s a big game.”
The Broncos are 4-1 against the Hawks overall, and Chowan earned a No. 4 preseason ranking in their division. However, Place said that his team could compete with them, they just have to take care of the small things.
“We have to go about the business of just working hard and understanding that there is no substitute for hard work — it is all on us,” Place said. “You want to be 1-0 every week. But if you don’t care of what needs to happen Monday through Thursday, you’ve got no chance to be successful on Saturday.
“If we go out and we do the things we do, and we do the things we know how to do, and we are concerned about ourselves and nothing else, then we have a chance.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Place said he felt like the o-line improvements are going to be key.
“This is the best offensive line we’ve had since I’ve been here,” he said. “It all starts up front. If we are going to be successful, the offensive line has to be successful. You have to have the ability to run the ball when you want to run the ball. You have to have the ability to run the ball when you have to run the ball.
“These young men have to work hard. They have got to understand the importance of hanging together.”
Because of the offensive line, Place feels like the offense would be more balanced.
“We feel like we are going to be able to run the ball more effectively, kind of like what we were doing in 2012,” he said.
Dain McFarland will be running the show as the quarterback, Place said. Last year, McFarland transferred from the Glendale, Arizona, Junior College, and he got some work behind Cameron Stover and Ryan Simpson. He completed 47 passes out of 93 attempts, threw 7 interceptions, logged 777 yards and completed 11 touchdowns.
“Last year, he struggled a little,” Place said. “It is tough playing quarterback in this offense. But he has had a great offseason, a great summer, and we have high expectations for him.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Jared Turner looks to lead the effort. During his junior campaign he totaled 44 tackles (27 solo, 17 assisted) while snagging five interceptions and collecting three breakups. Turner also contributes something else to the defense, Place said.
“He is a young man that has embraced this opportunity going into his senior year,” he said. “He realizes that this is his last rodeo, so he knows it is on him to step up and make sure everybody else around him is doing what they need to be doing.
“We’ve been very pleased with his leadership, and it is critical that we have his leadership.”
All around, defensively, Place said that they have more depth up front, the secondary is stronger than one he’s had, and that they are “pretty good” in the linebacker area.
“We only have three seniors, so we are kind of young on that side of the ball,” he said. “But athletically we are better than we have ever been. But, all that is going to get you is 50 cents and a cup of coffee if you don’t get it done. But we feel pretty good about our defense.”
Overall, Place said, they just have to get it done this year.
“I believe we found some answers to the puzzle,” he said. “We are better at some positions that we struggled at last year. We feel, if we can stay healthy — you always have to stay healthy in this sport — that we can be a good football team.”
Place said they have to take it day-by-day, but that they have what it takes to be successful in the CIAA.
“We just have to get through today before we can worry about tomorrow,” he said. “We talk about attacking the day and winning the moment. The big key is not who we play, or where we play, it is about how we play.
“It is about us going out and putting up our best effort in a position to be successful. And we are pleased with where we are at.”