By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s been tough sledding for quite some time for the Division II Cheyney University football team. Last year, the Wolves went 0-11 and they will bring a 21-game losing streak into their season opener against rival Lincoln.
However, new interim head coach Anthony Johnson is not getting caught up in the struggles of the past.
“Our motto is ‘New Year, New Team, One Dream,'” Johnson tells KYW Newsradio. “Everybody’s buying into that. I think if we keep moving in this direction, step-by-step, Cheyney will be a better team each year.”
So far, Johnson, who was offensive coordinator before getting promoted to interim head coach before spring ball, likes what he sees with the 2014 Wolves.
“Camp is going great,” Johnson says. “The kids are excited, they’re moving around and we’re doing some good things with a lot of kids, better numbers than we’ve had in the past.”
Johnson says right now he thinks the strength of the roster lies in an offense that will once again run the triple-option.
“We have a lot of returners coming back,” Johnson says. “The whole offensive line is coming back. We’re still trying to compete for the quarterback position, but we have a lot of returners on the offensive side of the ball.”
Cheyney’s defense is led by All-American linebacker Isaiah Fleming, who finished last season with 144 tackles, including 22 1/2 for loss. He also had 4 sacks and 3 forced fumbles.
“He’ll be leading the pack,” Johnson says. “He has some young guys around him, but he’s stepped up in a leadership role this year.”
Johnson is optimistic that the Cheney program is on the right track, but he knows it is a process.
“We still have a long road to travel,” Johnson says, “but we’re doing some good things right now.”
The Wolves were picked to finish eighth in the eight-team Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division.
Cheney’s season opener with Lincoln, the annual “Battle of the Firsts”, is set for Thursday night, September 4th at 7:00pm.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.