After the shooting of Joshua R. Taylor during the last spring break, Emporia State’s football team is looking to the future and not dwelling in the past.
“It is just a reminder to all of our student athletes to just be careful,” said Kent Weiser, athletic director. “I know coach (Garin) Higgins is very mindful and good at talking to the players and reminding them to make good decisions, but I don’t think it is something we need to dwell on.”
Higgins, head coach, and Weiser both agree the incident can be used as a learning experience but see no reason to implement any new policy changes.
“They are making sure we make the right decisions and stay out of trouble,” said junior physical education major and kicker Kyle Savner. “It is in the past, so we try not to keep coming back to it, but the coaches still stress good decision making and enforce the rules already in place.”
Taylor has fully recovered from his injuries and is set to play in the upcoming season. In an interview with Don Weast, assistant director of Media Relations, Taylor said he is excited to be back on the field with his teammates.
The new season has brought many new faces to the football team, with nearly 40 freshman and red shirts entering the rosters.
It is the biggest number we have had since I have been here,” Higgins said. “Part of it is recruiting. Our staff here does a great job. We have a young energetic staff that really goes out and beats bushes to find players, and maybe the other part is people are thinking we are going to do something here and want to be a part of it as well.”
Higgins said he is anxious for the upcoming season, and the team still has some work to do.
“We are getting better each and every day,” Higgins said. “Football is a simple game if you just boil it down to blocking and tackling, so we are just working on the fundamentals.”
Higgins said there might not be as much recruiting next year since they are not receiving additional funding, but he would still like to see about as many players added to the rosters.
The team opens their season against Fort Hays State on Aug. 30. Higgins said he expects a packed house.