In his 28th year as Wofford’s coach, Mike Ayers brings back about as much experience as he could ask for in 2015.
The Terriers have 10 offensive and nine defensive starters return to Spartanburg. The top four rushers, including senior running back Will Gay, accounted for more than 2,300 yards and 23 touchdowns in the Wingbone offense. Junior QB Evan Jacks is healthy after missing five games to injury a year ago.
All of that puts Wofford in a good position to improve upon last year’s 6-5 record and get back to the FCS playoffs for the first time since 2012. The Terriers would also like to put on a good showing in their first game of the year on Saturday at Clemson, which held off Wofford 35-27 in their last meeting in 2011.
“I think the biggest thing we’ve got to concentrate on is not the scoreboard,” Ayers said. “It’s the process that we’ve got to go through before we get to September 5 in Death Valley. If you fail to adhere to the process, if you fail to do the things it takes to be a great football team, you’re not going to have a chance.”
Wofford had a chance to pull off a shocker in its opener last year when it trailed by five heading into the fourth quarter at Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets scored the final two touchdowns to cruise to a 38-19 win.
“We gave up a few games last year because we lost focus at halftime,” junior safety Jaleel Green said. “We have to stay focused and we have to execute the game plan the way it’s supposed to be (executed).”
The Terriers have been and will remain a run-first team under Ayers. They averaged 296.7 rushing yards per game a year ago and threw just 113 passes. With a mix of veterans and youth — 42 freshmen are on the roster — Ayers has been pleased with the attitude and commitment of his players since January.
“It’s going to be a good year,” Jacks said. “You start with a Southern Conference Championship (goal) and then you go for a national championship. We’re all ready for it.”