Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Football team reflects on their 1-9 season and prepares for the future

The Augustana football team ended their 2017 season with a 1-9 record, but they aren’t letting these numbers define them. Instead, they are using their record as motivation for improvement for the next season.
Other than having the typical football difficulties of injuries and young starters, the team’s main struggle was being able to follow through and finish plays at critical moments. The Vikings lost four games by a combined total of nine points. This was mostly because of miscommunication in the last couple plays of the game, head coach, Steve Bell, said.
One word Bell used to describe the 2017 season was “disappointment”. However, he didn’t use this word to describe how he felt of the team.
“I feel more disappointment for our players because I know what type of effort they’re putting into it. This is not a 1-9 team. Unfortunately, our record says that we are,” Bell said. “I feel bad that they can’t reap the rewards of being a good team, but you have to make plays at critical moments. Unfortunately, we didn’t.”
Bell said finishing out plays is the main component to work on. Even though this past season’s result was a difficult learning experience, he believes the team will be more prepared next season for these critical plays.
“Having gone through this season and handling it as well as our guys handled it can be a major strength because it’s something to build off of,” Bell said.
Offensive coordinator, Josh Kotecki, agreed. The team has already started off-season workouts to be better equipped physically and mentally for next year.
“Staying connected as a team in the off-season helps improve the team’s communication and each individual’s roles as leaders,” Kotecki said.
Kotecki leads the team during the off-season. He doesn’t want the team to dwell on this past season, but to instead look forward and focus on improving their skills for future success.
“Because we went through so many adverse situations, I would like to think moving forward that we’re going to know how to handle those situations,” Kotecki said. “Hopefully the team learned from it and hopefully the coaches did a good job identifying what we can do differently moving forward.”
In the off-season, Kotecki focuses on acknowledging each player’s accountability in the team overall, so there’s no miscommunication or misunderstanding on and off the field. To practice this, the team has their own NFL Draft and competitions to have the players intermingle with each other and improve their teamwork and leadership skills.
Another main struggle this year was a lack of older depth. Many of the starters were young, inexperienced players, and when some became injured, there were hardly any experienced players to fill in. Bell is confident for next season, though, because these younger players will be more experienced and will have to step up to fill leadership roles.
Junior captain and lead rusher, Ryan Pitra, said he thinks with their training in the off-season, the team will come back stronger next year.
“I believe that we can put up a really good record if we learn how to finish games and take advantages of those opportunities,” Pitra said. “Hopefully this last season can be a learning experience, and I think that we could really start off strong next season.”

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Football team reflects on their 1-9 season and prepares for the future