When Coach Joe Early took over the Comet program from Tom Kraft in 2002, he immediately guided the team to a 10-1 record and has kept the bar high ever since. Previous to that, Early’s defensive prowess had a hand in all three of its National Championship teams of the 1990s. As echoed by many coaches, Early likes the change in conference alignments for two good reasons. "The new alliance allows for one governing board vs. three different ones that we’ve had in the past, and the new conference looks to be very competitive."
The Comets should be led by a very good ground game this season. Even with returning RB Leilyon Myers (900 yds, 13 TDs) sidelined with an injury, Palomar was still able to grind out over 300 yards rushing in the opener. Tyler Lavea (123 yds), Andrew Frasier (83 yds), and Orenzo Davis (63 yds), weaved their way through the Jaguar defense behind a young but huge Offensive Line. That line consists of freshmen Alex Scott (6-5, 305), Tom Berry (6-4, 280), Samuela Tupua (6-3, 315), Brice Schwab (6-8, 320), and lone sophomore Mike Tuimamave (6’0, 315). The speedy Frasier also had 164 yds in total returns to give the Comets much needed field position in that game. Although not needing to throw much in the opener, Redshirt Freshman QB Steven Carroll should be an efficient signal caller this season with Maurice Patterson being his main target. Wide outs Martavious Lee, Tyler Lavea, and Paul Moore will help balance out the passing attack.
On defense, Palomar returns many key players including Linebackers David Motu, Shane Melbo, and Nate Paopao. They should also be deep in the defensive line returning Andrew Sugg. Braxton Brennan, and John Mitchell. Palomar will miss Caleb Evans, a pre-season All Grid Wire selection, who will have to sit out the season as a medical redshirt. Brett Wininger and Loa Madon give experience to the defensive backfield. Madon had a solid 51 tackles last season. Freshman Anthony Young had a pick in his first game from his Corner position. The Comets also have two strong legs in Briton Forester and Colin Yost. Forester had a solid 43 yards per punt average in the opener.
The close opening win might just be a testament to Southwestern's improvement and solid passing attack rather than any faltering by the Comets. Early has some untested freshmen on the team. "We have a lot of freshmen, they need experience at this level. It’s a wait and see thing." But with a solid group of assistants led by defensive coordinator J. G. Aegerter, and Dan Early leading the Offense, the Comets should once again glow brightly in the 2008 season.