Syracuse quarterback commit Austin Wilson is entering his senior season at East Pennsboro Area Senior High School in Pennsylvania. CuseNation.com spoke with Wilson to preview his season in the first installment of our "QB Diaries" series.
"It's exciting," Wilson said. "Getting the full pads on and getting back out there. I think we're coming along pretty good. We're a young team. I think it's just me and one other receiver coming back from last year. So that shows our youth. We're young on the line and everywhere else.
"I think we'll be pretty solid once everybody gets their feet wet in the first game, gets their jitters out."
East Pennsboro runs a spread, but in preparation for Wilson's career at Syracuse, they've installed some other wrinkles.
"We run the spread offense," explained Wilson. "I'm primarily in the gun when I'm going to pass. This year, since I'm heading up to Syracuse, I kind of wanted to put in more of a pro-style under center. Five-step drops, stuff like that. Just to get myself prepared. We like to throw it around like 75 percent of the time. So be looking out for big offensive numbers from us this season."
Despite being a young team and implementing new offensive schemes, Wilson still has high expectations for the season.
"You definitely want to always take it one game at a time," he stated. "Ultimately, we're going to start short and worry about winning our division. And then look up and win the district, then make a run at states."
With their first game of th season coming up on Friday, Wilson and his teammates are focused and excited about playing football again.
"This Friday we play ay Waynesboro," Wilson said. "We don't know much about them. I have never played against them before in my career. But they have a stud running back from what we hear. I'm preparing for this game like I would the state championship or any other. I'm going to prepare as well as I possible can no matter who it is."
"I'm really excited," Wilson continued. "It's an overwhelming feeling to not have any recruiting pressure on me. Not having that pressure on me for the season. I lucked out and was able to get that pressure off of me before the summer. Now I can prepare with my teammates and hopefully have a great season."
He is also looking forward to battling against rivals. Wilson mentioned specifically one opponent which could be the biggest game of the year for them.
"There's one team that fits all of those categories, biggest rival and toughest opponent, and that's Trinity," Wilson suggested. "Last year we beat them. I think we were down 13-0 with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter. We ended up making two big drives down the field and we won 14-13. That's a big rivalry game. It'll be big this year."
Wilson says his team is ready to play right now. Even if a big rivalry game were to be taking place, he feels his team is ready.
"I'm always looking to improve," he said. "But I feel that if there were a game tonight, my team is prepared to go out there and take care of business. But you don't want to go out there too soon. We need reps this week to study up on the offense and hone in our special teams. Special teams can win you the game sometimes, so little things like that to prepare."
The 6-foot-3 quarterback likes the attitude of this team, despite the youth. In fact, he prefers to last season's more experienced squad.
"From last year to this year, the team is a lot different," Wilson recalled. "Last year we had mostly seniors on the offense. We only have two guys returning from last year. I think the younger guys have a lot more heart and desire to go out and compete this year. Even despite, what some people might say, our size on the line. I feel like our heart is going to take us a long way.
"Everybody is going to come out and play start to finish every single game, which is different from last season. That's one thing I like about this team."
Being a leader is a role the quarterback generally takes on. Wilson relishes that role, and looks forward to leading this year's squad.
"I'm the offensive leader and team captain," Wilson declared. "I feel like everybody has respect for me and looks to me. I rally the team at the end of practice after we do our conditioning. I talked to them after practice today about our team slogan. It's "all for one" this year. Sometimes we have to run. Sometimes the defense has to run. But we're all going together and we'll all run all for one."