Houston, Tx– Discipline is the common description for the 2019-2020 Texas Southern Tigers. The Tigers hosted their Football media day this past Thursday at the Durley Stadium Complex, located on campus. Met by the media, players and coaches had to a chance to answer questions surrounding the upcoming season. Whether as small as favorite local foods or more importantly, who’s is going to be the starting quarterback, the team answered the questions in their own unique way. With so many quotables, the common theme throughout the media day is discipline has arrived along with first year Head Coach Clarence McKinney.
“We want to go in and dominate and play discipline… that’s one thing we’ve been learning to do for past few months”. This is red shirt junior DE Jarryl Taylor’s response when asked about the expectations for the season.
Everyone knows the woes this team has experienced in the recent seasons, which has led to coaching change and a QB carousel. However, as I analyzed the room and spoke with staff and players of the program, the team is more upbeat yet focus its been in some time. Position battles throughout the offense hasn’t been controversy but just good competition.
Competition Watch List: Quarterback position
Preparation for this upcoming season started the moment coach Mckinney arrived on campus. In the first month, he recruited players to come into this program and change the narrative of this team. Headlined by DeAndre Johnson of last chance U, Florida St, and Florida Atlantic, coach McKinney said having a great signing class is “tremendously important.”
“If you know me and follow my career, you know that I built my path on recruiting. We knew we had to go out and get pieces to puzzle to fill in where guys have graduated or guys, we needed at certain positions to help become a better program.”
That is exactly what he did when he brought in Johnson to compete with Devin Williams. Devin Williams started 4 games at QB for the Tigers, totaling 4 TD’s and 592 passing yards to go along with 143 rushing yards. Deandre Johnson helped EMCC to an 11-1 record, throwing for 2,646 yards and 6 TD’s while leading the team in rushing with 834 yards. Both guys bring a dual threat dynamic behind which could tremendously help the run game and offensive line. This competition has been a battle and the best kept secret. When asked who has the edge, one source says, “You’ll have to wait just like us.”
Players to watch for: OL Dominic DeRiggi
Collectively as a group, the offensive line gave up 36 sacks, struggle to protect the QB and create a real push for running backs; as the running back by committee rushed for 2.9 yards per carry. Senior OL Dominic DeRiggi understands how vital their role is coming into this season. DeRiggi acknowledged that reducing the sack number and overall play is important saying “If we can protect our QB, we can get the ball out, run the ball, and it’ll make the offense easier and score points.” He credits this coaching staff for making things much easier and understanding the playbook in meetings. He’s currently battling for his position in camp and whether it’s at tackle or guard, DeRiggi says his only goal this season is to win games!
Discipline and preparation are the formula for winning games. This program has experienced its share of woes in the past but focusing on the past would mean the present and future will have the same outcome. Fueled by players and the coaching staff pushing each other to be better, iron is sharpening iron. As the team gets ready for this upcoming season, every man has a job and goal in mind. The first goal is beating Prairie View A&M at the Labor Day classic on August 31st at the BBVA stadium.