by CHRIS EDWARDS
From The Winonan, WSU’s student newspaper
While their first game is not until September, the offseason is full of action for Winona State University (WSU) football, as the team has begun its spring practice sessions.
The Warriors have been busy bringing in new players, with 16 recruits added to the roster this offseason.
Head coach Tom Sawyer said he was impressed with the class of new players. He talked about how the new line-up “addressed the areas of our three biggest needs.”
The team was looking to replace multiple senior skill players, as they lost 12 to graduation following the last game of the 2018 season.
This included leading wide receiver Isaiah Frandsen, who had 740 receiving yards and nine touchdowns last season.
The spring practices have been crucial for junior quarterback Owen Burke, who is going into his second season as the starter; in his first season, he threw for 2,448 yards, 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Burke said he hopes to improve on things from his year as the full-time starter, while also working on his progression of learning the flow of the game and game management.
The spring practices provided the Warriors an opportunity to give back to the community, as last week the team helped sandbag in preparation of high-water levels in Fountain City.
“It was really cool just to see how many guys we have over there and just how we can impact the community [by giving only] about four hours … they were really appreciative of that,” Burke said.
Burke also spoke highly of the new recruits, saying they have not only succeed in practice but come prepared by watching tapes and learning.
The goal for the Warriors with these practices is obvious: to get better. After one of their best years in recent history in 2017, the team was not able to make playoffs in 2018. While they ended a three-game win streak, the team finished with an 8-3 record, losing to divisional rival Minnesota State University-Mankato for a second straight year.
Spring practice will conclude with the annual spring football game, held on Saturday, April 27, at Altra Federal Credit Union Stadium, which will give the public their first taste of what is to come next season.