Mt. Blue players run a play during a preseason practice.
FARMINGTON — In football, defenders are often asked to “set the edge” to keep ball-carriers from busting big plays.
New Mt. Blue coach Nate Quirion set an edge of his own in preseason.
“Hard edge,” senior two-way lineman Nick Foy said, referring to the Cougars’ rallying cry. “Mostly it revolves around intensity, coming to practice with a lot of energy. We’re really getting the most out of practices.”
When he was named to replace Jim Aylward, Quirion, a former assistant coach at Husson University as well as PTC rivals Lawrence and Messalonskee, immediately told the players he expects Mt. Blue to be the hardest working, most disciplined and most prepared team in the state. The Cougars carried that tone into preseason with very intense, regimented practices to instill that work ethic, disicipline and preparation..
“I have no doubt if our practices keep going like this, that’s what’s going to happen,” senior wide receiver/cornerback Matt Hyde said.
“We’re relatively inexperienced,” Quirion said. “We do have a solid group of seniors, but we do lack a little bit of game experience. We’re trying to close that gap with intense practices.”
Mt. Blue graduated 18 seniors from a team that finished 3-5. This year’s senior class is nearly as big but mostly has had to wait its turn at varsity action. Add in new schemes and plays on both sides of the ball and it’s clear the Cougars will be trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together early.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes to put our kids in situations where they can be successful,” Quirion said. “We’ve got good athletes and we’re looking to get better.”
Hyde and fellow seniors David Quimby (wide receiver), Ethan Andrews (wide receiver) and Abram Meade (tailback) are among the athletes the Cougars will try to get involved on offense. Junior QB Noah Bell has impressed with his competitiveness. Foy is the most experienced returner on a rebuilt offensive line.
The defense will reflect the offense’s fundamental, physical tone. Actually, Quirion believes its the defense’s job to set that tone.
“Defense comes first to us. We want to play great defense,” Quirion said. “We want to come down hill and attack people.”