McDaniel’s 2014 season ended in shocking fashion when the team surrendered six unanswered goals in a 16-15 loss to Centennial Conference foe Gettysburg.
More than a month after that April 26 setback, coach Matt Hatton said the outcome could serve as a positive for the Green Terror (6-9 overall and 3-5 in the league).
“I’m not sure that wasn’t a good thing for our guys as motivation in the long run,” he said. “Obviously for the short term, it was very painful. But everybody’s excited. I think the expectation level certainly needs to be raised. There are things that the staff is going to concentrate on and maybe concentrate on more than we have done in the past. I just think from a fundamentals standpoint, we need to get back to the basics with our guys, particularly those younger guys that made some fundamentals mistakes with games on the line. And I think our level of physical preparation, that expectation has to be raised. … I think everybody here is excited. Everybody’s good, that’s the thing. Everybody we play in and out of conference is good, and I’m sure they all have good returners coming back and good classes coming in. We’re excited about our incoming class as well, but I think what separates you is your preparation, and that’s going to be a focal point this year.”
McDaniel graduated just two players from its roster of 39, and Hatton said he hopes the team can convert that youth into development next spring.
“Not only does it help to have another year of physical maturity and mental maturity and being in our system, but I’m a pretty firm believer in being battle-tested,” he said. “To me, no matter where you’re coming from out of high school, it’s going to be different at the college level and especially in the Centennial Conference. So having now seen that for a full year and seeing what the demands are physically and mentally, I think it can only bode well for us moving forward. If everybody does what they need to do and can advance as players, then I think that bodes well for us.”