Football excels on field and in class
This fall, Oberlin’s football team had its most successful season on and off the field in nearly 30 years under fifth year head coach Jeff Ramsey. Not only did the Yeomen compile their best record since 1974, tie for second in the conference and boast nine all-conference selections, but the team’s GPA was higher than it has been in recent memory, coming in at 2.99.
Coach Jeff Ramsey said that the football team was better academically this year than any time since athletic director Don Hunsinger left in 1997.
“I think that Don Hunsinger was the last guy that had a group that really hit the books hard,” Ramsey said. “Last spring semester the average GPA was 2.99.”
Keeping the average GPA up for 46 players is no simple feat either, since practices take up 21 hours — the equivalent of a part-time job.
When Coach Ramsey came aboard five years ago, nobody expected the team to go from a 0-10 season to tying for second in the conference so quickly.
“I think that we’ve recruited good football players,” Ramsey said, “and we’ve got the players to believe in what we’re doing. I think that that’s the most important thing, and we’ve also gotten them to believe in themselves, which is often more vital than anything else.”
Senior offensive tackle Adam Miller sees confidence as the key.
“The difference was we were able to win a big game, we were no longer the team that came close, but it instilled a confidence in our team that I hadn’t seen before,” Miller said. “We carried that confidence into our last six games and came out with four wins.
“The greatest moment was defeating [14th-ranked] Wooster,” Miller remembered. “It was sweet revenge for three years of punishment that they had given us. It ruined their perfect season while making us a contender in the conference.”
Now that the team has built up momentum, the most important thing will be building on past successes. That will be difficult as there are 16 graduating seniors and only 12 new recruits.
Ramsey credits much of the team’s success to the great play of the graduating seniors, who will sorely be missed.
“Losing Quammie and Mark, and Zeus, and Kevin Jackson and Franz, they’ll be hard to replace,” Ramsey said. “James Thompson, all of our seniors — Greg Jacquay, how can I forget him? Those guys will be very, very tough to replace, and there is no substitute for the experience.”
In the past season, Oberlin had one of the toughest run defenses in the conference and a pass defense that may have been ever better. It is arguable whether these exploits should be attributed to the whole team or to individual players.
“I think the main thing is that we had a great attitude, we were aggressive, we were physical, we were relentless, we played with a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” Ramsey said.
He is optimistic that these trends will continue next year, though he will lose 16 graduating players.
“We have some capable backups who will move into those spots. They’re young, but they’ve adopted that same energy, enthusiasm, relentless attitude that those guys had,” Ramsey said.
Miller said that the framework has been set and the program should take off.
“I think one major success of our class is that we have instilled a
Miller also expressed his enthusiasm for the coming season and the future of Oberlin football.
“I expect the underclassman to pick up right where we left off and use their time to accomplish goals that we could not reach...Oberlin football can only move one direction and that direction is forward.”