ELY — Vermilion Community College head coach Justin Kosik is hoping for bigger and better things in 2019 after a rough season on and off the field in 2018.
The Ironmen won just one game in 2018 and lost a player to drowning last Labor Day weekend in Miners Lake, which impacted the season.
Instead of retiring the number of the late Sean Giles, Kosik and Vermilion will select one special player each year to wear his No. 40 jersey. This year it will be middle linebacker David Rush donning the jersey when Vermilion opens the season at home Aug. 24 against Northland. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m.
In addition to the handful of players back from 2018, Kosik said, “we had a pretty good recruiting class.’’ Overall, he expects to have a roster with 65-70 players.
Lack of a full recruiting season was an obstacle for the 2018 season with Kosik starting his tenure in April and trying to cram too many things into a short period of time. He now has a team of quality players and a largely new coaching staff. Only Kosik and Marcus Waugh, assistant head coach/offensive coordinator, return from last year.
Regarding the all-important quarterback position, Vermilion has six players that can play the position. Murphy Theodore is expected to play the first half Saturday, while the starter has yet to be named. The coach said that will depend on who stands out in practice and is more consistent.
Just a short time into training camp, Kosik believes a team strength this year is unity. “They’re really coming together’’ after doing things together like barbecuing on Shagawa Lake and Friday movie nights.
The main goal for the Ironmen is getting better each day, Kosik said. “We’re just going to try to improve every year’’ and get the program turned around.
Head Coach/years coaching: Justin Kosik (21 years overall/2nd at VCC)
Last year’s record/how finished season: 1-7.
Key players lost to graduation: Oscar Lopez, Lakeith Nunn.
Key returning players: Sophomores David Rush, MLB; Damon Dunn, WR; Ty Williams, RB; Jaleel Hansberry, RB; Jeremy Seadorf, WR; Onterial Carter, NG; Casey Holman, DE.
Others expected to contribute: Freshman Ty Edmonds, RB; Mekahi Woolridge, S (possibly cornerback); Murphy Theodore, QB; Davion Sanders, WR; Chris Bellamy, WR; Widly Francois, CB; Leroy Bolden, OLB.
Outlook for 2019: Better performance than last season. Updated coaching staff and new recruits.
Team Strength: Unity.
Team Weakness: Youth.
Who is the favorite to win the division: Vermilion.
Anything else you would like to discuss: Looking to increase our competition with the assistance of a new support staff of coaches, and a full recruiting season.