As the season wound down Saturday, it became apparent that Ferrum, who had many bright spots during their season, was going to come up short after a good effort against a team that they could have beaten.
When the clock hit 0:00, and in a game that the lead changed hands six times, the Panthers did indeed came up just short, 42-33. In some respects, this game was a microcosm of the season. Troy Helton and the Panthers offense were able to move the ball, but the defense, who is young, and has had numerous injuries, struggled to stop the Bishops.
Some things to hang your hat on:
There are 19 running backs on the roster that are eligible for the 2016 season.
Ferrum has a very strong and deep receiving corp.
Ferrum will again be solid at quarterback.
The offensive line, which will lose 3 members has bench depth, and will have a solid base.
I look for Ferrum's offense to be as good, if not better next year.
The defense will only lose three players.
Where we need to get under the hood:
A total of 429 points were scored by opponents
Opponents gained 2004 yards on the ground against Ferrum. There were 32 rushing touchdowns
2363 passing yards were gained against Ferrum. There were 26 passing touchdowns
We lose Hunter Ferguson, who graduates, and was very consistent as the kicker
In short, Ferrum has finished what I would classify as a forgettable season. Yes there were things to take pride in, but the season was first skewed by the fact that we had only one on campus game.While the end product of the field renovation project is spectacular, there is no doubt that the project timing and delays were burdensome to a point. In the long run however, Ferrum will benefit from another excellent facility improvement.......and next year, we will have night games!
Lastly, Ferrum has to not just improve the defense, it has to be fixed. It has to be reviewed, re-evaluated, and repaired. Yes there were injuries, and those hurt, but in my opinion, if the injuries were the main issue, then we have to improve the depth on the sidelines. This is what I know:
David Harper is the right man for the job. He has my full support.
Like every season, there will be people who leave the team. This is one of the main issues with any non scholarship program. The inability to retain players hurts the teams chances of improving. A sophomore will be much better prepared to play than an incoming freshman, even if they spent most or all of their first year on the bench. Stay the course. If the players return, the team improves
A teams success is greatly affected by the size and strength of the line of scrimmage. Off season preparations are hugely important in the development of the lines. This needs to be the players job, to focus on getting Bigger, Faster and Stronger.
Lastly, this team could have been 5-5. That would have given them a third place finish. Averett, LaGrange and NC Wesleyan, were all games that could have been won. While it may not feel like it now, Ferrum, to me is at the cusp of success. And while this word means different things to different people, I am quite sure Ferrum is on the way up, and I look for them to be a strong contender next year.
I will do a detailed season recap in the near future.