The heat of late summer may be enough to keep some people indoors, but the St. Thomas football team is disregarding the rising temperatures and continuing training camp for the 2014 season.
Training camp for the Tommies has marked the return of quarterback Matt O’Connell. O’Connell’s 2013 season-ending injury has been closely monitored in camp, but he said he’s fully recovered.
“The guys that have worked with me in getting me ready for the season have done a really good job, and I’m pretty much back to where I was before,” O’Connell said.
Coach Glenn Caruso, entering his seventh year at St. Thomas, said that O’Connell’s return, coupled with the talented group of wide receivers on the roster, means that the team has the ability to throw the ball, but the offense should remain characteristically balanced.
“That’s our goal every year … is to be a 50-50 run and pass team, and fortunately for us, the last six seasons we’ve been very close if not right on that,” Caruso said.
After falling short of the playoffs last season, O’Connell said the team is even more dedicated and just getting back on the field and working with teammates is “the first step toward achieving that goal.”
“It’s really exciting to get back out here with the guys and be running around and throwing and seeing how much they’ve improved over the summer, so I’m really excited to be here,” O’Connell said.
O’Connell and the veteran-laden lineup will work with a talented class of incoming freshmen throughout training camp, and Caruso said by the the time camp concludes, the team will be ready both on the field and off.
“Hopefully not only are our schemes in place and our personnel in place but, more importantly, our team has come together and gelled nicely,” Caruso said. “That’s been the focus of camp the last couple years, and this year is no different.”
St. Thomas opens the season at home Sept. 6 against Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Tom Pitzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.