By: Collin Frazier
2021 Oilers ready for new season with fresh faces and big goals
The Oilers football team will once again be making their way on the gridiron for the 2021 season as the fall semester begins. After COVID-19 had postponed the Fall 2020 season to Spring 2021, the team had to make a quick turnaround. With six games finished in the spring, the need for physical contact in practice was not a priority.
“Our summer workouts started the first week of June and guys conditioned and worked out throughout the summer so it didn’t affect much,” Head Coach Rob Keys stated. “But I think moving forward we’ve done a really good job of taking some of the more physical practice and hitting somewhat out of it because we had the six games in the spring,” he said.
The Oilers will have experienced players returning this season, including Defensive Lineman and member of the 2021 NCAA Division II Preseason Starting Lineup, Reggie Micheaux. Micheaux hopes this honor serves as inspiration.
“It just puts forth extra motivation to play to a higher standard and to lift my teammates up to show that all of us have the potential to be classified as All-American of some sort,” Micheaux stated.
New faces will be seen on the sidelines this season with the Oilers recently hiring Pass Game Coordinator/QB Coach Tom Coughlin from Heidelberg University.
“[Tom had] great success over there you look at his numbers with his quarterbacks, [and] what they did in the past few years. [He has] high energy, good coach, [and is a] great person,” Keys commented.
On the other side of the ball, Morgan Loyd from Ohio Northern University will be taking over as Linebacker Coach, replacing the 40-year veteran Coach Mike Kolakowski. While he may not have the same number of years under his belt, Loyd has the advantage of knowing what the G-MAC has in store.
“Morgan’s definitely a little younger, but he came from Ohio Northern– very successful program,” Coach Keys explained. “Morgan played in the league so he knows the expectations and how good the play is in the G-MAC and in the GLIAC because he played in the leagues as well.”
“Replace and replace better.” This is what the Oilers keep in mind when trying to find the perfect fit for positions.
“Anytime there’s a change we’re always looking to replace and replace better,” Keys proclaimed. “It doesn’t matter if it’s coach or player, the attitude stays the same. Our job is to replace and I think we’ve done a very good job replacing some very good coaches and very excited about watching them continue to grow in the program.”
“Every time we get a new coach, it’s like a new step forward because every time we recruit, we recruit better, so I feel like they add new pieces and new coaching tips from where they’ve been and their experiences that can help us push forward through the season,” said Micheaux.
Loaded with new coaches, the Oilers are preparing for their first game of the season against the GLIAC juggernaut that is Ferris State University. While not an easy task, Keys has faith the Oilers will not make this game an easy one.
“We’re really focusing on what we can do to get better as a team and once we get the game prepped we have a very, very tall order in Ferris State,” Coach Keys explained. “They’re the most physical team we play, they’ll be the most talented when it comes to athleticism and experience.”
“I heard that there’s a lot of experience throughout that football team so it’s gonna be a big challenge but I think our guys are ready,” Keys continued. “There’s no doubt we’re capable of going up there and beating them. Is it going to take an exceptional effort and a very clean performance by us? There’s no doubt.”
Micheaux agrees that this team has the talent and drive to make it far this season and into the postseason.
“I feel like this is the year we can actually win it all, get G-MAC championship, [and] actually make it to the playoffs and I’m looking forward to the first game this season because that’s one of our bigger games,” the Defensive Lineman said.
The Oilers kick off their 2021 season at Ferris State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Sept. 2.