After a few weeks have passed since the end of their season, Shannon Jolley, head coach of the Osage Indians football team, has had time to process and give his thoughts on the Indians 2021 season. 

Coach Jolley came in as the Osage head coach after the start of the new year and as a result didn’t have the necessary preparation time to get his staff and himself acclimated and implement their desired system. Despite the catching up and adjusting the team and staff had to do throughout the season, Jolley said that he thought his team “showed a lot of growth from week one to ten.” 

“The kids adapted and adjusted to the new staff and system… overall, they were resilient, had a positive attitude, and positive growth,” Jolley said about the players adjusting in-season. 

Speaking more to the progress his team made this year, coach Jolley focused primarily on their mindset and mental fortitude in a challenging season for the Indians. 

“I thought team discipline and execution got better. The kids ability to overcome adversity got stronger throughout the season,” Jolley said. 

The Indians started the season 2-0 with wins over Fulton and Moberly but, beginning with an overtime loss to Eldon in week three, lost five in a row before beating Versailles in week eight. Osage then fell to Blair Oaks in the regular season finale before losing to the Falcons for a second time in the first round of the playoffs. 

“I think we could’ve done a better job representing our progress,” coach Jolley said, referring to their shutout loss to Blair Oaks in the last game of their season. Despite the way in which that game played out, Jolley firmly believes his team had made great strides over the course of the year and doesn’t think that game is representative of how his team had developed and grown over the difficult season. 

He went on to emphasize their approach to looking at the Indians’ progress, saying it’s “always a team perspective” and that they saw “collectively, a tremendous amount of growth as a team.” 

Because of this, Jolley and his staff are “tremendously excited” for the upcoming season. With Osage losing just five seniors and bringing a lot of players back, he thinks there’s reason to believe that there’s a lot of positives working for the Indians as they head into the offseason. As for what they will be focusing on during the offseason, Jolley is focused on increasing strength and conditioning training and being able to use a full offseason to build the relationships a winning football team needs among the players and between the team and the coaching staff. 

“We want to be more physical in all phases of the game— bigger, stronger, faster,” Jolley said about what they hope to accomplish with a heavier focus on strength and conditioning this offseason. He is also looking forward to being able to more thoroughly implement his system at Osage and establish stronger ties between the players and coaches now that they “passed the first year” and are a little more settled in. 

Looking to next season, Jolley thinks their week one game against the Jefferson City Jays presents his team with an opportunity to get a win in “a great challenge against a tough opponent,” to hopefully show the progress they have made and start the season off strong. 

Overall, coach Jolley and his staff are excited for what the future holds for the Indians and believe that the work they will put in over the next several months and with the opportunity of having more time for the team to play within their system, that Osage will be ready to win next fall.

The Lake Sun