After an offseason of hard work, Jack Kelly is ready for his sophomore season on the gridiron at Bridgewater State University.
For Whitman’s Jack Kelly, there’s only one word to describe his offseason — intense.
With a few aspirations in mind entering his sophomore campaign on the Bridgewater State University football team, it’s been a nonstop grind since walking off the field last fall.
“My goal for myself, personally as a player, is to be on the field contributing to help my team win,” Kelly said. “My goal for our team, as a unit, would definitely be to win the MASCAC (Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference) and advance to the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) [Playoff]. Both goals can be achieved through hard work and dedication.”
And Kelly’s put in the hard work.
“I was working out basically every day,” he explained. “I was lifting six times a week, running three times a week and I also worked out at South Shore Boxing Club three to four times a week to help with my conditioning and hand speed. I wanted to make sure that I got as strong as I have ever been and got into the best shape I have ever been in.”
Bridgewater State football head coach Joe Verria, who also serves as the defense coordinator, noticed Kelly’s commitment.
“Jack has definitely gotten bigger and faster since last year,” Verria said. “Unfortunately, Jack got hurt in camp and has missed a week of camp. I look forward to him returning.”
This offseason was about more than just growing physically, though. The Whitman-Hanson Regional High alum returned to his old stomping grounds to coach the Panthers’ passing league team to a title this summer. Kelly said it helped him grow as a player.
“Coach [Mike] Driscoll has known that I wanted to get into coaching and saw this as the perfect opportunity to get my feet wet,” Kelly said. “It was my first time being able to call plays for a team and I felt comfortable from the beginning and really enjoyed it. I was able to get a better understanding of the game in general. I was able to dissect offensive and defensive play calls and responsibilities.”
Kelly said the biggest difference going into his second campaign has been the heightened expectations. Last season, he came into camp as a linebacker before switching to defensive end. So, now with a whole fall under his belt to observe the guys in front of him, he’s ready to step in.
“[Watching them] has prepared me to help contribute on the field this year,” Kelly said. “This year, after having a successful offseason, which got me bigger faster and stronger, I am now a returner and expecting to be able to make plays I couldn’t have made before.”
Bridgewater State opens its season at home on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 12 p.m. against Morrisville State.
“I want to be able to say that I worked as hard as possible to improve my game and that I played every single down this year like it is my last,” Kelly said.