Football team begins season with new attitude


Ryan Spitza

It’s finally football season and the Wildcat football team will start that season on the road for the back-end of a home-and-home set with the Angelo State Rams on Saturday night.

The Wildcats fell to the Rams in the home opener at the Superior Dome last season in overtime by a score of 47-41.

The Wildcats finished with an overall record of 3-8 last season, including dropping the final six games of the year, which led to former head coach Chris Ostrowsky being relieved of his duties.

New NMU head coach Kyle Nystrom, hired last December, hopes to change the culture surrounding the team and wants fans to know one thing.

“It’s our mission to give them [the fans] something to be happy about,” he said. “I can’t put it down exactly what that’s going to be—I’d be an idiot to say we’re going to win this many games or this many games—but I can promise you this, they’ve been coached and they’ve been schooled and tutored and taught to play with effort, play with toughness and do something as a football program that makes Northern, Marquette and the U.P. happy and give them something to feel good about.”

Temperatures are expected to be in the 90s in San Angelo on Saturday.

Nystrom said despite the heat, they just need to play the cards they’re dealt.

“We’re just going to have to show up and play and rotate people and get through it,” he said. “We’re bringing 55 [players] and everyone is probably going to have to play in this one; we don’t make excuses for anything. We play the cards we’re dealt and that’s who we are, that’s how we’ll roll.”

The Wildcats have been working with three quarterbacks through camp and Nystrom said there’s no front-runner for the top spot, but rather the team will play with two quarterback’s this week. Not giving names, Nystrom said both will be ready to go this week.

“They’re both ready to play, those are our guys and we’ll roll with them,” he said. “I’m not going to talk about who they are, just like I’m blind going in, they’ve [Angelo State] got to be blind to some stuff too. I don’t want to make it easy for anybody.”

The team will have a 7 a.m. practice before boarding the busses to go to Milwaukee where they’ll fly to Dallas before boarding another bus for the four-hour ride to San Angelo.

While Nystrom said there’s some concerns going into his first game, he added that every coach has those concerns and he hopes the team will improve upon last year.

“I hope we’re better. I hope we’re coached better. I hope we have some bodies in there that do the job better,” he said. “I don’t know until we play. We can say everything, ‘we’ve looked better in this, we’ve looked better in that,’ but we’ve coached them very hard.

“This coaching staff, I’ll put this coaching staff up against any team in Division II. That being said, I don’t know where we’re at, we’ve got to go play. Cat Effort, Cat Tough. It’s time to go play.”