MMU Eagles are off to a flying start!

  • On Sunday 10th December MMU's Eagles battle it out with De Montfort University to get to the playoffs
  • Northern Quota reporter Jess Stoddard met with American Football's chairman Chris Hall to find out how they are preparing for the big game

After a good season so far, we spoke to MMU American Football’s chairman Chris Hall (3rd year Sport Coaching and Development) to find out how he’s found the new coaching team and what he thinks about the season.

How has the season gone for you so far?

Really good. It’s an exciting time this year. We’ve brought in a brand new coaching staff team with a brand new programme and scheme in general. The offence has completely changed, defence has completely changed. We’ve got more emphasis on fitness and strengthening and conditioning this year than we have had in previous years. The Union are really interested in helping us develop, more this year than I’ve ever seen in previous years which is really really helpful. We had our first ever homecoming event, so we’re starting to get a bit more interest from other members of the athletics union. In terms of performance, we’ve lost 1 game to Coventry, other than that we got two wins under our belt, heading to take on De Montfort University for a big showdown on the 10th December. 

How is the strength and training different from previous years?

So this year with the new coaching staff that we’ve brought in, a brand new head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators and positional coaches, they’ve really helped us a lot with identifying how we should train and how we should increase our physical capacity and ability. One of the most important ways is that we have started running sprints collectively as a team another day a week, so technically we have three training sessions a week, with the extra sprint session. We also run sprints at the start and at the end of our training sessions to keep our physical fitness up at peak ability and the best it can be.

Who are the new coaching staff?

Our fantastic new head coach Randall Storey, who has a lot of experience in American Football in the States itself. He used to play in the 80s at the Division 1 Oklahoma University Program.

We have GB Quarterback coach Nick Weston as our new offensive coordinator.

Finally we have the starting linebacker for the Manchester Titans Rick Hurst as our new defensive coordinator 

Along with a wealth of experience in our positional coaches as well.

How is the new coach?

It’s been a big change obviously from what we are used to. He had some ideas and ways of running things that were brand new to us, so the adjustment period was challenging at first for all the players but we finally bought into the system. I think that’s the most important thing, buying into what he wanted to do and how we are going to run things. I think it’s given us all a sense of belief that we can achieve and we can go on and be the team that we know we can be. Hopefully, over the next few years, establish ourselves as a leading team in Brit Ball. 

When’s the next home game for us to come and watch?

We have our final game of the season against the Huddersfield Hawkes on 25th February 2018, being held at Burnage Rugby Club. It would be great to see as many people down to that as possible because as it’s our last game of the season. Depending on the results of our away game against De Montfort University on Sunday 10th December, it will be a big decider on whether we get into the playoffs. Obviously, it’s a huge moment for us because the MMU Eagles have never been to the playoffs in any season before. If we can do that in the first stage of a newly developed programme that’s really still in the building stages then that would be really impressive and would stand us in very good stead for the future definitely.

How can you sum up the team in a couple of words?

When you join the American Football team, it’s not just turning up and playing what is already a new, interesting and a very niche sport that is growing massively in the UK, you gain a brotherhood. We’ve got your back at all times, socials are good (everyone loves a good social). You really are brothers in arms, as it’s a collision and contact sport. You really do feel like a solider, almost that you’re fighting for each other and fighting for the university when you put on the jersey. Then you really do feel part of the tangerine dream.