By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal
A brand new team will be stepping on the field to host Sul Ross State on Sept. 7 at 6 p.m.
With a brand new coach in Colby Carthel, only a handful of starters are returning from the old Texas A&M University-Commerce football team.
A Sulphur Springs graduate, who has a penchant for big plays with both his arm and his legs, will be taking the snaps for the Lions.
“Tyrik Rollison will make his first start as a Lion,” Carthel said. “It’s good to see him come back home.”
The 6’3, 220 pound third-team All-American came to Commerce from Tyler Junior College, where he threw for 2,960 yards and 22 touchdowns for the Apaches,
Carthel said he will be sticking with the basics with the young team.
“First of all, I hope we can get all 11 players lined up correctly,” he said. “We’ve been looking good in practice so far.”
Carthel said the new offensive line has worked together quickly to become formidable, giving the Lions a good chance in both the running and passing game.
Senior running back Aaron Wingfield agreed with Carthel, and added he thinks the strong offensive line will help the play makers in the running back and wide receiver positions
“I think I’m one of the many play makers on the team,” he said. “It’s been a good gelling process.”
Since Carthel came on board, many of the players on the team said they’ve felt a better atmosphere during practices, including senior defensive back Marcus Fore.
“It’s a lot more excitement and a lot more energy,” he said, adding that the month-long boot-camp-style training Carthel had the team go through brought them closer together. “I liked it a lot.”
Fore said, to survive against the Lobos, who averaged 332.5 passing yards per game last season, the defense will need to trust that each player will do what he practiced.
“Everyone do your own job and you’ll win as a team,” he said. “Stick to your man.”
With this being the first game as head coach, Carthel said win or lose, his team will put on a good show and hopes to put a positive chapter in Lion football.
“It’s a huge game. Whether people come here to see the new turf, new coach or new team, we need to perform well,” he said. “We will be tested and it will be an exciting game.”