NEWBERRY — Newberry College’s head football coach Todd Knight gave community members and South Atlantic Conference fans a look into their upcoming 2014 season Monday morning.
SAC hosted a Digital Media Day for media and fans previewing the 2014 football season on the conference’s official website, TheSAC.com. The session featured all eight South Atlantic Conference head coaches and the SAC Commissioner Patrick Britz.
Knight kicked off his segment by saying they were locked and loaded in Newberry, prepared to answer questions from fans. The Wolves were in the middle of checking in at the time of the media event. Knight said they were excited about the 2014 season and were looking to build off the way that they finished in 2013.
“It’s shaping up to be a fun season,” Knight said.
Newberry College is picked third in the preseason, which had fans wondering what kind of motivation that provided Knight and the team with this upcoming season.
Knight responded by saying he felt it was a pretty accurate prediction. However a lot of things could happen.
“It’s a lot of pressure to be in that top three in this conference,” Knight said. “You’d like to think that you can be better than that, but there’s 11 games in between now and then.”
W.T. Murden was picked in the preseason all-SAC first team as quarterback, which Knight said he thinks says a lot about him. The Wolves will be running a two-quarterback system with Murden and Raleigh Yeldell, and Knight said Murden was still picked first, which made him proud.
“I’ve seen him mature over the years both on and off the field,” Knight said. “Having him and Raleigh makes our offense very versatile.”
Because of the number of players returning on offense, Knight said that would be one of their strengths this season. However, he said they needed to develop their reserve players and overall depth.
“We saw in 2012 that injuries can derail a season, that’s why our depth needs to continue to develop,” Knight said.
Newberry College plays its first game on the road this season against Charleston Southern on Sept. 6 at 6 p.m.
Knight was asked was if he was excited about heading to Charleston this season.
Knight said it was always a unique experience for a coach to go back to a place where he previously coached before. Having spent a few years there, Knight said he’s excited and it should be fun.
“It’s tough timing to go down there and play them after their best-ever season,” Knight said. “I honestly think they’re the best team on our schedule this season.”
Former Wolf Corey Washington, currently playing for the New York Giants, was mentioned during the questions for Knight by saying how the team would replace Washington not only offensively, but in his leadership he provided.
“You do not replace Corey Washington,” Knight said. “That being said, it’s time for other kids to step up, and it might not just be one guy filling his spot. We’ll have to do a better job spreading the ball around to all of our receivers.”
Senior Edmond Robinson from Wadmalaw Island will be back and 100 percent for the first game against Charleston Southern Knight informed listeners Monday. Knight said their expectations for him were off the charts.
“He showed us the beginnings of a star career last year, and he expects the best from himself,” Knight said.
It will all come down to injuries and if the team can stay healthy Knight said as far as the biggest key to win their conference championship this year.
Another key, Knight said, was to overcome Carson Newman and Lenoir Rhyne. While the other teams are no “gimmies,” Knight said those two teams seemed to be the ones that everyone was chasing.
A focal point in spring football was to work on stopping the running attacks of those two teams, Knight said.
“Our three losses came to those two teams last year,” Knight said. “Our staff went and ‘cliniced’ with other schools concerning option attacks (of different styles) and hopefully we brought back plenty of things that can help us this year.”
Knight said the players reported at 9 a.m. Monday to check in and would take the field Aug. 13.
Between the playoffs last season, four guys performing in the NFL and the returning players, Knight said it was an exciting time to be in “The Berry.”
“We can’t wait to see our fans at our games all over the region, and especially our games at Setzler,” Knight said.