By Caleb Slinkard
Texas A&M University-Commerce football fans will get their first chance to see the Lions under the leadership of head coach Colby Carthel at 7 p.m. on Friday in Memorial Stadium during the annual Blue vs. Gold Spring Football Game.
The Lions are coming off of a disappointing 1-9 season, their second 1-9 finish in a row and third consecutive losing season. But Carthel, the former defensive coordinator for Lone Star Conference rivals West Texas A&M, has already begun to make waves with a strong recruiting class and inspired rhetoric on and off the field.
Carthel signed 37 players on National Signing Day in February, and has continued to look for new talent while evaluating the players currently on the roster.
A&M-Commerce will have several holes to fill, including the one left by linebacker Danny Mason, who anchored the defense over the last several years. Mason was the LSC’s Linebacker of the Year in 2012 and was named first team all-LSC.
The Lions have struggled to find a replacement for running back Marcus Graham, who graduated before last season, and didn’t have a quarterback throw for more than 1,000 yards. Senior quarterback Deric Davis, the Lions’ leading passer last season, returns this year to vie for the starting job. He’ll face competition from juniors Justin Gomez and Ryan Lusby.
The Lions do have one of the easiest schedules in recent memory, including games against Sul Ross State, Delta State and Southeastern Oklahoma.
Two legendary coaches, A&M-Commerce Hall-of-Famers Earnest Hawkins and Sam McCord, will serve as honorary coaches for the game, with McCord coaching the Blue team and Hawkins the Gold.