Today: Jun 17, 2024

What to expect from SCSU football this season

Coach Rich Cavanaugh

NEW HAVEN–     As students were soaking up sun on the beach, enjoying drinks and music with friends and family this summer, Southern Connecticut’s  football team were individually working day in and day out to become better players for this season.

Heading into his 28th season as the Owls head football coach, Rich Cavanaugh is ready for a new season of football. Coach Cavanaugh said heading into training camp, one of his main focuses regarding his players is how well conditioned they will be heading into practices.

“The biggest thing, “said Cavanaugh, “we need to do is be in better shape so we can compete for a full 60 minutes.”

Last season the Owls finished the season with a record of 3-8. Majority of the games last season Owls were toe to toe with their opponents heading into halftime. Coach Cavanaugh reflected on last season and said the second half is where he felt his team could’ve played better in order to win the close games.

“If I can look back at some of the problems we had last year,” said coach Cavanaugh. “We were pretty much in every game heading into the half. The second half came and for whatever reason it was, we didn’t play to the level we should’ve been playing too.”

Heading into his senior year, quarterback Jacob Jablonski had a rough season last year. During his junior year, Jablonski did manage to throw for 1,675 yards passing alongside 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Coach Cavanaugh said Jablonski during the offseason, matured more mentally and also physically as far as his approach of being the quarterback and knowing what needs to be done this season.

“Jablonski,” said coach Cavanaugh, “had a solid offseason and spring practice. “ I think he has a better understanding of what his role is this season. He really needs to be the manager and manage the game better and get the team into the end zone. I think he is ready for the challenge.”

This season Labonski will have to carry his team on the offensive side of the ball week in and week out. Jablonski said this offseason was not all about becoming physically better, it was more of mental focus more than anything.

“I really worked on my mental aspect of the game,” said Jablonski. “As a quarterback it’s good to have the physical ability to throw, move your feet and have a strong arm. But I think having a good mental view on the game is very important.  I understand the offense much more by really going into these plays in a notepad and that’s one thing I really did over the offseason.”

With training camp currently in full effect, Jablonski said he is already pleased with what he is seeing with his offense. Not to get ahead of time in any way, Jablonski said there is a lot of room for improvement before their first game at home against Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Sept. 7.

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Quarterback Jacob Jablonski

“I see a lot of progress with this offense so far,” said Jablonski. “Despite the progress, we are not where we want to be. This is why we come to training camp to put the icing on the cake.”

A lot of offense last season for the Owls came from running back Vaughn Magee. Heading into his senior year, Magee last year had a productive season at running back. Magee rushed for 1,141 yards with eight touchdowns with an average of 5.3 yards a carry.

Magee earned All-Region honors from Don Hansen’s Football Gazette and also was a part of All-Northeast-10 Conference last season.  During the offseason, Magee said even though he had a good season last year, during the break he worked even harder in training to become a better player than last year.

“I’ve been going through a speed facility called Revolution Athletics,” said Magee. “I’ve been doing that five times a week and I have been really working on my speed rather than gaining weight. I’m just trying to get faster and score more to help out my team.”

As the team is preparing each day for their first game, Magee said he sees that his team is very serious and determined to have a good season this year.

“My team,” said Magee, “is a lot more focus, I know I’m focused. I think everyone and everything else is clicking on all cylinders. Everyone is trying and not messing around because 3-8 is nothing to be proud of at all and we just want to go out there and impress everybody.”

As for the defense, coach Cavanaugh said during spring practices his defense this year can be real good if everyone can play to their potential.

“Our defense showed signs in the spring of being solid,” said Cavanaugh. “We have an excellent front four, there’s experience at linebacker and also in our secondary. If I would have to name strength right now, I would say our defense.”

Coach Rich Cavanaugh
Coach Rich Cavanaugh

After playing two years for Victor Valley Junior College in California, junior linebacker Josh Hudson transferred to New Mexico State University. Hudson then chose to transfer to Southern Connecticut because it was much closer to his family who haven’t seen him play a game since high school.

Before coming to Southern, Hudson was an All-State and All-Conference selection at New Britain High school (Conn.). Hudson said he will leave it all on the field this year in every play he is a part of.

“I’m going to bring it all I can this year,” said Hudson. “I’m bringing toughness, intensity and more on the field this year.”

Staying in shape is one thing coach Cavanaugh stresses into his players. Hudson said drills become intense all the time and everyone has been going as hard as they can and he loves to see the competitive nature within every player.

“Drills have been intense so far,” said Hudson. “Everyone has been giving 100 percent because no one is guaranteed a spot.”

Hudson this season expects the defense as a unit to bring fear into their opponent’s eyes. Hudson said his expectations for the defense are to not let teams score so many points easily.

“We want to,” said Hudson, “hold teams to limited points as possible. We want to be very aggressive and make it hard for them to touch the end zone. Our defense will be mean and we will send a message to teams that we aren’t going down without a war.”

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