Football fall camp concludes, team preps for Azusa Pacific


Austin Heinen

Confidence is high for WT vs. Azusa Pacific in season opener

Austin Heinen, Former Associate Editor

It has been three physical weeks of fall camp for the West Texas A&M football team. Three weeks of learning and most importantly, three weeks of sculpting a new identity for WT football.

After three weeks of progression at fall camp, first year head coach Hunter Hughes is pleased with what he has seen thus far. The Buffaloes progression throughout camp leads Hughes to believe that this team is one of the most physical WT has had.

“I would give the players an A,” Hughes said. “They fought through it, we demanded things out of them and I think they came through. I’m proud of the way the players have responded to what we’ve put out for them to do. It’s exciting.”

With fall camp in the books, the Buffs now prepare for their first regular test against 13th ranked Azusa Pacific followed by a meeting with 12th ranked CSU-Pueblo. Redshirt freshman quarterback Justin Houghtaling and company is looking forward to the challenge.

“We just look to take it one game at a time,” Houghtaling said. “This first game is the first run on the ladder, as coach says. We don’t try to look at the ranks but we look at opponents with respect but we are going to play our game regardless of how they play. We’re going to do our job and expect them to do theirs. We have great schedule so it should be fun.”

The Buffs are also eager to see how the new systems and formations unfold this season. Hughes has focused on switching from a pass-first offense to a run-first offense. Junior wide receiver P.J. Leonce and company understands that this means fewer chances for receptions. Leonce says the group aims to optimize the chances they get.

“We just look to control what we can control,” Leonce said. “Every opportunity we get, we will just try to make a big play out of it.”

With new systems for offense and defense, adjustments could prove to be a tough process. Regardless, Hughes is still happy with where the team stands heading into the season and is looking forward to seeing how the team performs this coming weekend.

“I really think we are a little ahead of where I thought we would be because of the development of the offensive line,” Hughes said. “I think the defensive line and offensive lineman have really helped each other during camp. We talked about being more physical and we have gotten more physical.”

The Buffs kick off their season against 13th ranked Azusa Pacific this Saturday at 6 p.m. in Kimbrough Stadium.