They are familiar football sights and sounds in an unfamiliar time of year.
February feels very different than most years for the Tarleton State football program.
“Football is football,” said Tarleton State senior defensive back Tre Johnson. “Spring, fall, football is football.”
COVID-19 concerns pushed the Texans’ football season back from the fall, so players and coaches are preparing for the first spring football season in program history.
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“I’ve been coaching 32 years and this is my first time coaching a game in February,” Tarleton State football coach Todd Whitten said.
“Whenever you tell us to step out there, we’re going to step up and get the energy going and play some football, baby,” Tarleton State running back Khalil Banks said.
And they are doing so while also making the move from Division II to Division I.
“It’s a little different,” Whitten said. “But those butterflies are starting to show up with gameday right around the corner.”
Whitten has helped completely overhaul the Texans program in his 11 seasons in Stephenville, which has included an expanded stadium, new VIP suites for game day, and a locker room that would make some Power Five conference programs jealous.
“Getting to see us get that new locker room, it’s Division I material,” Tarleton State offensive lineman Zach Perry said. “It’s amazing.”
The impressive transformation has been matched with impressive results on the field.
Tarleton State has had back-to-back undefeated conference championship seasons, knowing the expectations will only grow, in a season unlike any other, with familiar football sights and sounds in an unfamiliar time of year.
“I’m ready to explode,” Tarleton State linebacker Ronnell Wilson said. “It’s a surreal feeling. Talking about it right now has my knees kind of weak. I can’t wait.”
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