“New Era New Attitude”. That has been the slogan for the West Georgia Wolves ever since Coach Will Hall took over a struggling football program in 2014. Now, heading into his second season as head coach, the Wolves start the season ranked 3rd by D2Football.com and 4th in the AFCA Coaches poll. Starting the season off in the top 5 comes off the heels of a strong 2014 season. The Wolves finished 2014 with a 12-3 record and made it to the semifinals of the Division II playoffs losing to the would be champs Colorado State- Pueblo.
Now, a new season begins. Year two has the potential to be just as good if not better than last. Though the Wolves lost some key weapons on both sides of the ball, Hall added some solid playmakers to close the gap. Guys like Marion Chapman and Chris Rabb with help fill the holes left by Tory Slater and Tyrell Adams. The return game will be one to watch. The departure of Denarius Appling leaves big shoes to fill for whoever emerges as his replacement. Appling holds the School record in punt return touchdowns in a game, season and career. On top of gaining solid recruits in the off season, the Wolves return 7 starters on both offense and defense. This should help ease the pressure for the young guys to come in and be relied on so heavily.
The schedule for the Wolves is where things get really interesting. The month of October has the makings for one of the toughest stretches in all of Division II football, playing three top 25 schools back to back to back. To make this even more challenging, all three of these teams are in the GCS Conference along with West Ga. One of these schools being arch rival Valdosta State. It is also worth noting that the game prior to this three game stretch, the Wolves travel to West Alabama to face Coach Hall’s former program. This will be his second meeting against his previous school and the first time returning to coach against them. If the Wolves can escape October with little or no damage, a conference title looks to be obtainable.
The first game of the 2015 season will be away Vs. Catawba on the 5th of September. The Wolves will then return home on September 12th to face off against Miles. One key stat to mention, last season the Wolves did not drop a game at home and have not lost at home since October 19th 2013 against Valdosta St.
The sky is the limit for what this program can accomplish. The coaching staff is proven, they have the players and the tools. Only time will tell if West Ga’s rise to the top will be something here to stay or just a lucky run.
Justen Ransom- Sports Director for the University of West Georgia