By TYLER HULSEY
KENNESAW, Ga.— After a solid inaugural season, Kennesaw State football players are ready to hit the field in 2016.
Last season the Owls finished with a 6-5 record, which was respectable considering over two-thirds of the roster were underclassmen.
Four of the five losses came against conference opponents in the final five weeks of the season, so there are certainly areas for the Owls to improve on to keep the wheels on the bus.
It should help that the team lost only four seniors to graduation. So experience, something that was the Owls’ enemy last season, might help them improve their win total in 2016.
The team’s captains are doing their part to make sure they have themselves prepared to compete.
The offense shined at times last season, averaging 6.1 yards per play and recording more than 4700 yards of offense. However, many of the Owls’ scoring drives in the red zone were stalled.
Quarterback and team captain Trey White is doing his part to improve this offseason. The quarterback has been focusing his time on staying healthy and improving his passing accuracy.
“At this point of the offseason, I’m just working on my throwing and making sure my body is in good physical condition before the season,” White says.
The quarterback performed well last season, earning third-team all-conference honors. However, that isn’t good enough for the senior quarterback, who is hoping he can reduce his interception total and help the team finish more drives.
“I’m just focusing on reading coverages to make better decisions.” he says. “I’m trying to cut down on the interceptions and forcing the ball deep.”
The senior is hoping his team can finish more drives next season. The Owls converted 28 of 48 red zone trips into touchdowns last season.
“I’m hoping I can get us in the end zone more next season,” White says, “I felt like there were some drives we missed some opportunities to walk away with points.”
Last season, the defense was stiff at times, but it seemed to give up big plays against the tougher competition on the schedule.
This could easily be because of the lack of time together playing competitively.
The unit looks to prevent giving up as many big plays and become better at tackling.
Defensive player Dez Billingslea is working hard this offseason to improve his game.
The linebacker finished third on the team in tackles last season with 55. He has been working on the details of his game in hopes for a stellar personal season.
“Personally, I’ve been working on everything,” Billingslea says. “I’m trying to work on my tackling and my footwork the most — just trying to get my technique down.”
The redshirt sophomore has big aspirations for the season as he plans to make push for an all-American season.
“I’m ready to hit the field and make some plays,” Billingslea says. “Anything short of a great season is a let down.”
Winning games on the road
The Owls defended the nest quite well last season, losing only one game at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium last season. The biggest struggle for the Owls was winning games on the road.
Three of the Owls’ four road losses were decided by 10 or fewer points.
With a few plays going the other way, the Owls inaugural season could have been a different story.
They face Point University at home Sept. 10, 2016, at 7 p.m.