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Longmont alum Scotland Coyle (60) will anchor a dominant offensive line during his senior season at CSU-Pueblo.
CSU-Pueblo athletics
Longmont alum Scotland Coyle (60) will anchor a dominant offensive line during his senior season at CSU-Pueblo.

While most of Colorado’s collegiate football teams — at least the major programs — are in rebuilding mode, the CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves are again considered heavy hitters in the Division II ranks in 2014.

The skill John Wristen’s team has at the positions which gain the most notoriety speaks volumes, but their most talented bunch might be the guys up front.

The Wolves’ offensive line might be one of the country’s best, and Longmont High graduate Scotland Coyle is literally right in the middle of it.

Along with now-junior Zack Martinez and rising senior Austin Payne, Coyle has helped take CSU-Pueblo on a rapid ascension in a few short years. The school’s football team just got going in 2008 — meaning Coyle, also a senior, has been with the team more than half its existence.

Playing the crucial role of the center position, Coyle has big hopes for his senior season after starting 11 of 12 games as a junior.

“For myself, really it’s about playing the best year of football I ever have, because possibly it’s the last year I’ll ever get to play,” Coyle said. “I came here to play football, and I want to contribute, help us get to the next level and have as much success as we can handle.”

The ThunderWolves were picked to win the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, something they’ve accomplished each of the past three seasons. In fact, they enter the season winners of 31 consecutive conference games and 37 straight regular season contests.

So it is no surprise that the All-RMAC preseason team is littered with Wolves. Coyle is one of them, along with the aforementioned linemen. Coyle said he feels his colleagues deserve the accolades, with their dedication to “The Pack” coming year-round.

“I’ve spent most of my summers down in Pueblo, as have most of my teammates,” said Coyle, who is cousins with current LHS student Sydney Wetterstrom. “We work out five days a week, sometimes six. We have a lot of motivation so we can show up and win games.”

It took a little while for the door to open for Coyle. Both his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons, he came off the bench often while doing a lot more work on special teams. Wristen liked what he saw, however, and inserted him as a starter for the 2013 opener.

He spent a lot of time in the playbook, Wristen said, but also seemed to have increased his awareness of defensive line and linebacker reads. Coyle said he’s been lucky to work with good coaches to keep him on his toes.

“I’m really proud of Scotland and his hard work, what he’s done in the classroom and just being a model citizen, and I’m anxious to see what he brings to us as a senior,” Wristen said. “You’ve got to be able to do a lot of different things there at center. Make sure the snap is there, that’s the obvious one, but to be able to call all the fronts and the directions, and that’s what makes Scotty really special.

“It’s cool to be preseason (all-conference), but the true value of that is whether you finish that way. I think that’s where he wants to finish, and that’s where I want him to finish.”

“I can’t say enough about the coaching since I’ve been here,” Coyle added. “We had Chris Simington, who did an awesome job, and now we’re getting coach (Dave) Borbely from Louisville. I’m excited to play for him, too.”

In three different national publications, the ThunderWolves appear in the preseason top 10 rankings. Coyle, who will graduate next spring with a history major and minor in education, is simply hoping to stay healthy all the way through a strong playoff run.

“We’re still a young program but we’ve accomplished a lot in that little amount of time and we’re proud of it,” he said. “But you can’t take anything for granted. We show up every day with the expectations of working harder, getting better and to go beyond anything we’ve done to this point.”

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