ESCANABA — Sometimes having a new coach can lead to new and better things and that’s what the Escanaba Eskymos are hoping for. This past offseason was an eventful one for the team as Jim Hansen was fired from his head coaching position and JV coach Dave Howes steps in as the head of the program.
There’s always an adjustment period for new coaching staffs but the players say this is a bit easier given that they are familiar with Howes and coaching style.
“We’re going really good. It’s a little different than last year but I think we’re getting used to it. We had him our sophomore year so it’s pretty good,” Eskymos running back/cornerback Dylan Gauthier said.
“We’ve come together a little bit more and we’re more focused, I think, and ready for what’s coming,” Eskymos running back/linebacker Hunter Viau said.
“This year’s team, on the offensive and defensive line, we’re pretty solid. That’s where the games are going to be won or loss I believe. Some of our skilled kids are also coming up pretty big now. Again, a lot more kids than last year and I think we’ll be fine,” said Howes.
Escanaba went 3–6 last season and haven’t been to the playoffs since 2011. The team spoke about what they will need to do to reverse that trend.
“Probably just the little things…blocking, getting to our positions and everything else,” Gauthier said.
“Just keep everyone pumped up throughout the season and get everyone on a good streak and everyone’s happy. I think if we have fun, we’ll do good, I think,” Viau said.
“I think we just need to improve on getting better each day, improve our conditioning so when the fourth quarter comes, we’ll be ready for each game. The kids are working really hard. We’re hitting, we’re executing. We’re doing the little things the right way,” said Howes.
The Eskymos will kick off their season and the U.P. football season on Thursday at home against Alpena.