Jamie Owen voted preseason breakout player for USA South
With the Maryville College Football season underway, many are already expecting the Fighting Scots to improve on their 6-4 season of 2012. Under new head coach Mike Rader, the Scots finished in a three-way tie for first place in the USA South Athletic Conference last season.
However, only a short way into the season the Scots lost a key attribute on the defensive side of the ball in the relentless defensive end Jamie Owen, who went down with a torn ligament in his right elbow. Owen underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the rest of the season. Up until the injury, Owen was on track for an outstanding year.
Before the 2013 season began, the USA South Athletic Conference named Owen as a Preseason Breakout Player for the upcoming season, anticipating an exceptional year out of the senior.
“At first I didn’t know,” Owen said when asked about his initial reaction to being named Preseason Breakout Player. “My mom called me and told me after practice. I’m really excited. I feel that now I just have to live up to the expectations.”
Despite the award, Owen is focusing on the putting the team goals above his own achievements.
“I’d rather do nothing and have us be successful than have a good season and the team fail,” Owen said.
After being sidelined for the majority of last season, it was clear that Owen was excited to be back in the lineup.
“It feels awesome to be back,” Owen said. “It was miserable sitting on the sideline of each game and feeling helpless.”
However, he said that he is using that feeling of helplessness to his advantage.
“Having known how it felt to have football taken away, it gives me motivation to do the little things right,” Owen said.
Owen worked hard in the offseason to prepare himself for his senior year. When asked about which aspects of his game he worked on most, he said, “I trimmed down. I’m about ten pounds lighter than last season. My power game has kind of diminished due to my elbow injury, so I worked on my agility and quickness to develop a more finessed game.”
While Owen’s defensive presence will definitely strengthen the Scots’ defense this season, he felt that he could bring more than pure skill to the football team. Being a senior and a four-year starter, he said that he could bring leadership and experience to the team, as well.
“I’ve been in big-time situations before, and I think I can help the younger players who have not been there. I think I can keep them calm in these situations,” Owen said.
Discussing the goals set for the 2013 season, Owen said that he felt coaches added to the overall team motivation.
“They tell us we aren’t really as great as we thought we were last season,” Owen said. “No one wants to be three-way champions.”
Owen also said he was adamant about achieving team goals for the season.
“We should be a top 25 team by the end of the season. That’s our goal,” Owen said. “We want to be outright champions, and we’ve put in the work to do so. We want to get to the playoffs and see what we can do there.”
In past years, the Scots have struggled to break a .500 winning percentage. For Owen, the 2012 season set the tone for the future of the program.
“As long as I’ve been here, people have doubted Maryville. People have never taken us seriously, and it’s very exciting to see that people are realizing we’re a force to be reckoned with,” Owen said. “After three 4-6 seasons, it feels great to know that Maryville’s going to finally be good for a long time”.
Owen and the Fighting Scots began their season with a 37-0 victory at Berry College.