2023 Preseason Playbook: Oneonta Yellowjackets
ONEONTA, N.Y. (WBNG) - ”They kind of had to learn the hard way. Take the test first. Learn the lessons after,” explained Oneonta head coach Will Neale.
2022 was a tough year for an inexperienced Oneonta offensive line, but now everyone’s back and looking much improved.
“It was a new line. No seniors. It was rough last year but this year we’re all coming back so it’s way more connected and stronger line. It’s going to be big for our offensive game,” said Oneonta junior offensive guard and defensive end Reilly Waltz.
The Yellowjackets return every single starter from last year’s line and over the offseason they created the Lineman Iron Club. Which pushed these players to lift as much as possible. Making Oneonta one of the strongest teams in Section 4.
“Over the whole offseason we went in two days a week, sometimes four, and we just worked out and tried to get like PBs and grow the line’s strength,” said Waltz.
“The guys bought in. We had a good turnout all year. First day of practice I put their numbers up where they started for this first cycle and where they ended on our last cycle and saw them grow some strength. I think their confidence is a lot higher this year which is good. We need that. They understand the game starts on the line,” added Neale.
The leader of this line is senior center Connor Ashforth, who understands his role as the fulcrum of the unit.
“I got to play the toughest that I can be. I got to be the leader. I got to be as strong as possible. I got to have a good mindset. I don’t want to show some negativity to other players because then they could collect that negativity,” explained Ashforth.
These big boys up front will help the Yellowjackets skill positions, which feature some new starters.
“Sometimes not being able to shake routes or stuff like that, I have more time to get open. My quarterback has less sense of pressure and it’s a lot easier to get the ball downfield and score touchdowns,” said Oneonta junior wide receiver and cornerback Tanner Tubia.
All of this, has Oneonta looking toward the postseason
“That would make me happy. My last year making it to the playoffs. I would be really proud of our team,” said Ashforth.
The Yellowjackets have just the kind of players to make that push.
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