The 2013 Washburn football team went undefeated for its first eight games, outscoring its opponents 375-115. But the Ichabods faced defeat in their final three games, one of those losses being determined by a mere three points.
As the 2014 season quickly approaches, however, the 5th/6th ranked Ichabods are enjoying an almost entire returning offense led by senior quarterback Mitch Buhler.
In his nine starts in 2013, Buhler passed for 2,261 yards, averaging 251.1 yards per game, and 23 touchdowns. Buhler noted that Washburn’s spread offense played a role in his decision to come play for the Bods.
“I like [the offense] a lot,” Buhler said. “That was partly the reason I chose to come here. I just like it. I think it fits my skills.”
Buhler said some of the improvements he has made personally since last season include footwork and running the offense better, but he also mentioned that he has become a better vocal leader. Personal goals and records are not a main focus, Buhler said. Getting wins in the most important thing.
Washburn football head coach Craig Schurig said, as a team, continuity from last season is one of the largest beneficial factors for this year’s team.
“We got a lot of guys back, so it feels like on offense in particular we’re able to kind of get a lot in in a short amount of time,” Schurig said. “Defensively, it seems we have pretty good speed and quickness and we’re trying to use that to our advantage.”
The Ichabods held a scrimmage Aug. 16. Schurig saw both positives and negatives, which is typical.
“I thought defensively we played with a lot of speed, and particularly in the back seven,” Schurig said. “Offensively we didn’t execute real well, so that wasn’t a plus in the scrimmage. But overall with the camp I think our run game on offense has looked pretty good and our pass defense has looked better than it has in the past.”
Schurig said the running backs are players to keep an eye on. Senior Vershon Moore, junior Sean McPherson and junior Kameron Stewart were three names he gave for his top running backs. Moore is 1,036 yards shy of breaking the all-time school record for rushing yards.
“I feel like we could be a pretty strong run team,” Schurig said. “We’ve always believed that if you can run the ball well, you have a chance to win.”
Washburn’s first game is at home Thursday, Sept. 4 at 6 p.m.
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