“I know it’s depressing. I’m not Justin Aldredge,” deadpanned Nims, who is taking over the Demons’ starting tight end slot for Aldredge, an All-America and Academic All-America selection in 2011. “I wish I could be him everyday, but he had to graduate sometime. Sorry, Coach B (tight ends coach Brendan Farrell).
“Justin is a great person and he set the bar very high at this position. It may not be just one of us, but four of us collectively, who try to replace him and I believe we can meet the expectations. On and off the field, in and out of the fieldhouse, this team carries itself well,” said Nims, a junior from Lafayette-St. Thomas More.
Nims’ quiet confidence, in himself and his teammates, was reflected as all 16 of the Demon Deacons, the players chosen by their peers to represent each position group on the squad’s leadership council, spoke to media and guests at NSU’s Fall Sports Media Day.
“Means nothing, nada, zero. It’s on paper. The games aren’t played there,” said fourth-year head coach Bradley Dale Peveto, referring to a projected fifth-place finish in the Southland Conference race for NSU.
“No disrespect to anybody who voted us there. Based on prior performance, it fits. But in five days of practice around this team, I can see there’s been a huge step forward from the end of spring ball to this point.”
“They believe in themselves, they believe in one another, and they are all in,” he said. “You can’t order that off the drive-through menu. That comes from a lot of hard work over time, shoulder to shoulder, back to back.”
Senior offensive guard Larry Calcote was one of a series of players who sang the same tune.
“We’re a very confident team now. We’ve been through a lot of hard work together, been through seasons that didn’t turn out to our liking, and now we have 21 seniors leading a team that will not accept 5-6,” said Calcote. “We believe we’re working harder than ever before and we believe it is going to pay off. I know it is.”
Wednesday morning, in the first united workout for the 95 players in preseason camp, the Demons had their first subpar performance in the week since they reported to prepare for the Sept. 1 season opener at Texas Tech.
“It wasn’t a Demon of a day,” said Peveto. “It was hot, it was miserable, it was the first day with all the pads on, and it was a slobberknocker. We lined up and teed off on each other. Our execution wasn’t bad at all, but overall, we did not meet our standards, and we immediately shared that with the guys.
“Doesn’t mean we lost any faith in them. We just challenged them, and I have no doubt they’re coming out with bells on (Thursday) when we have our first two-a-day,” he said. “That’s who they are.”
Senior safety Jamaal White agreed.
“It’s hard out there, but I think we have the group of leaders to get it done, to lead these young guys, to bring this team down the road better than before. We’re just doing what we’re supposed to do, just grinding. We’re trying to go to Frisco, where the national championship is,” said White.