ETSU coach Sanders expects more from Bucs defense after strong spring season


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The East Tennessee State University football team wrapped up Week Two of fall practice with a number of objectives in mind.

A defensive unit that held opponents to around 18 points-per-game last season brings back nearly all of its starters this fall. Still, more work needs to be done.

“We played really really well this past spring, no question, we gotta start faster on defense, we gotta bring it ready to play every day, we gotta bring it ready to practice every day,” ETSU head football coach Randy Sanders said.

The Bucs went 4-2 in the 2020-21 spring season, narrowly missing the FCS playoffs as the first team out of the bracket. A win over No. 10 VMI in the second-to-last week of the season shot the Bucs in contention with a three-game winning streak, but a loss in the final week to Mercer ended those hopes.

With the NCAA granting players an extra year of eligibility, a number of last year’s seniors are back along with a number of other starters on both sides of the ball.

“We were good in the spring, we got everybody back, there’s no excuse not to be we added a little depth got a few newcomers you look at our team, I think we have 6 seniors and every one of them is on defense,” Sanders said, who is in his 4th year as the Bucs’ head coach.

ETSU opens its season on Saturday, September 4 at Vanderbilt.

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