Coming off of a 0-9 season last year, the Pacific football team has a lot to work for this year, and that all starts at camp.
The team checked in for their football camp on August 13, and have had a full schedule ever since.
“It’s been nice coming back to see the growth with the returners and get a chance to spend some quality time with the recruits,” said Head Coach Keith Buckley.
“It’s been a lot of fun, we have a great group of guys.”
Along with practices, meetings and other team building exercises Buckley said they’ve added a new mentor program where upperclassmen are paired with a freshman.
“It’s something we couldn’t have last year because we were all new to campus, but now the freshmen can have someone to go to for questions not just about football but Pacific as well,” said Buckley.
And although this is still a young team, Buckley said that having a year under their belt has allowed the team to move faster in installing their offensive and defensive schemes during practices.
For Buckley and his coaches the goal is to mesh the sophomores and freshmen and have them be the core for the future.
Buckley said that 75 freshmen were recruited to add to the roster, along with a handful of transfers and walk-ons.
“This isn’t a situation where we’ll have freshmen sitting on the sidelines,” said Buckley. “Some of them are going to be fighting for starting positions.”
Like last year, this season the Boxers will face heavy hitters like first-ranked Linfield College and second-ranked Willamette University but Buckley said he didn’t feel there was any more pressure from outside forces for wins than those that he and the other coaches are already putting on their players.
His philosophy is to take it one game at a time.
“We’re looking at the first game right now. Then we’ll look to the next one and so on, we need to take it step by step,” said Buckley.
Buckley said that along with still being a young team, one of the challenges the Boxers face is managing expectations for this year.
“I’m excited about the talent the team has but we still have a long way to go as a program,” said Buckley. “But I have no doubt we’re going in the right direction.”
The Boxer’s first home game against Simon Fraser will take place at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 3.