A new head coach normally means a new playbook. For the Cal Poly football team, that happens to be the case. The lack of spring ball means the lack of an in-person, hands-on, installation of a fresh scheme, but the coaching staff and players are not getting discouraged.
“Football will come, but there’s a lot more important things in the world that need to be finished first,” Matt Shotwell, a senior linebacker for Cal Poly, said. “Then we can start to have fun again.”
Mustang football is under the direction of new head coach, Beau Baldwin. The inability to be with his players during the launch of his tenure at Cal Poly has been unfortunate, but his state of mind lines up with his players’.
“It’s not ideal, but I also pause for a second and think about the people out there who are going through some serious stuff,” Baldwin said. “I’m not going to feel sorry for us, given that we’re still in a very positive situation.”
“It’s a weird time for everybody. Most importantly, everybody stay safe. This whole thing going on is bigger than football,” Jalen Hamler, the Mustangs’ quarterback, said. “I’ve been mad. I’ve been wanting to get out there on the field. I’ve been missing the field ever since last season, but we got bigger problems in the world.”
Hamler started at quarterback as a freshman in 2019. He’s still working out with teammates and doing everything within his power to come back on the field at a high level, whenever that may be.
“The place that our line stays at – they have weights set up over there if we wanted to go down there. We don’t have our own weight room, but there’s ways to get stuff done if you want to,” Hamler said. “It’s just staying on top of all of that stuff. Staying in physical shape, staying on top of school; we’ll need all of those things to incorporate us to be successful in the fall.”
For Matt, the fourth and final Shotwell brother to play for Cal Poly’s defense over the years, his eyes are on turning the program into a Big Sky-contending championship team for years to come.
“Having that to be the last thing for me leaving here would be awesome,” Shotwell said. “This is just a bump in the road, but I think when football season does come, you’re going to see a totally different football team than last year.”
Baldwin’s situation, taking the reigns of a program during this pandemic, is less than convenient, but he’s finding other ways to stay positive.
“Those are all silver linings to all this; spending time with family, going out and helping – whatever it might be,” Baldwin said. “The biggest thing is just focusing on what you have control over; what you do tomorrow, what we do with the rest of the day. That’s all we can focus on.”