JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – East Tennessee State features some of the best athletes in the conference on both sides of the ball, but the Buccaneers success this season will start in the trenches.
Both the offensive and defensive line is stacked with talent and they’ll look to build off the spring season in which the Johnson City squad finished with a 4-2 record.
Redshirt-junior offensive lineman Tre’Mond Shorts will be the anchor for the hogmollies. This unit will look to pave the way for one of the conference’s best players, running back Quay Holmes. The Buccaneers averaged nearly 320 yards per game and will look to improve on that mark. Shorts is impressed with how the offensive line has grown this offseason.
“Last spring, a lot of guys it was their first time on the field, I see a lot of maturity,” Shorts said. “A lot of guys knowing what they’re doing, knowing their assignment, knowing why we do what we do, schemes and stuff and how it fits in to what we do as an offense.”
The Bucs were even more efficient on the defensive side with the Blackshrits holding teams to a just under 19 points a game, first in the Southern Conference. Six-year senior Blake Bockrath has been a staple for the defense the past couple of seasons and he knows how important underclassmen will be to the success this season.
“We’re building up our youngers guys, we’re building up leaders,” Bockrath said. “We’re taking younger guys and trying to make them leaders and trying to push those guys as much as we can and I think this year our focus has been really good because of our younger guys buying in.”
Randy Sanders and his squad kick off their season at Vanderbilt next Saturday.