New Morehead State football coach Rob Tenyer cannot help but smile. He is heading into his first season as the man in charge.
Tenyer hopes to give the Eagles a phoenix-like resurgence to the top of the Pioneer Football League.
The Eagles held their annual media day on Tuesday, just a few days before students return. Tenyer, who spent 12 seasons with the program as an assistant coach, was named the head coach last December after former coach Matt Ballard’s contract was not renewed after going 4-7 in 2012.
He has brought in a new coaching staff with some former players that put on an Eagle uniform during his assistant stint. Normally coaches are brought in to rebuild programs but Tenyer and his squad does not see this situation like that.
“I don’t want them to focus on this as a rebuilding year,” Tenyer said. “We’ve developed a good image on campus and community and our players have bought in. And when you’re able to do that and take pride in what you’re doing, you have to feel good about that.”
After all, he has junior running back Rees Macshara returning. Macshara led the Eagles with 1,013 rushing yards, marking the first time an MSU player eclipsed that number in 12 seasons. His best performance produced 211 yards on the ground against Valparaiso last year.
“I just want to keep working but nothing has changed with the way I approach practice or in the weight room,” Macshara said. “We’re pressing on and trying to improve as much as possible.”
Being a head coach has its challenges. He has the task of getting the students, faculty and the community excited about Eagle football again. Since he took over, he’s helped reach out to Morehead and the surrounding area by giving his “recruiting pitch” to help pack Jayne Stadium in the fall.
With a home schedule that includes the University of Pikeville (season opener on Aug. 29), rival Eastern Kentucky (Sept. 21), and UNC-Charlotte (Nov. 23), Tenyer will see if his hard work pays off.
“EKU is ranked 19th in the country and someone told me they had a first place vote in their rankings,” Tenyer said. “We start out with a great NAIA team in Pikeville and, of course, it’s a tough task. But yeah, I can see it being (a trial by fire).”
One question mark surrounding this season will be who will replace quarterback Zack Lewis. The owner of the school’s career records in completions (936), passing attempts (1,499), passing yards (10,251) and passing touchdowns (72) along with several others graduated. Junior Boone Goldsmith, redshirt freshman Logan Johnson and three freshman are on the depth chart at QB.
“We’ve got some tremendous young men (under center),” Tenyer said. “We’ve got three freshmen we’re excited about but Logan Johnson is really standing out. … He needs a lot of reps and we’ll make sure that happens. Boone Goldsmith is doing well right now; he’s trying to process things faster and, in our offense, the guy that needs to pull the trigger for you needs to be able to do that.”
Tenyer admitted his squad has a long way to go before playing under the lights on a rare Thursday night game at the end of the month. But one thing is for sure, he said — the fans of Eagle Football are going to be happy with the finished product.
“This is something new and we’ve worked very hard to get to this level to develop this atmosphere and excitement about Morehead State football,” Tenyer said.