By Sean Heffron
Next fall, Travis Rundle, a former quarterback and a defensive coach for Penn State, will begin coaching Sewanee’s football team. In an interview with The Sewanee Purple, Rundle discussed his coaching history, views on football, and hopes for the next season.
Discussing the 2017 season, Rundle said he was “excited about how well the players have responded to everything we have asked them to do. I’m very excited about what we’re trying to accomplish as a program, and with young talent.”
Although Rundle played football as a quarterback when he was younger, he was hired by Penn State to coach defense. He described the shift as a challenge with a major learning curve, but that he learned a lot from the experience.
“I got hired right at the beginning of summer camp. I spent a lot of time putting myself through the drills. People thought I was nuts, but I wanted to be able to execute what I was teaching them,” Rundle described.
Rundle adored football from an early age, listing Walter Payton and Joe Montana as his favorite players. “Walter Payton was just a tough dude who never ran out of bounce and that mentality always stuck with me. And then Joe Montana just had that calmness under pressure. He was ‘Joe Cool.’ He was the guy to lead the team down field towards the end of the game. Those two really stood out,” said Rundle.
On the subject of his philosophy as football coach, Rundle emphasized the role of defense. “You want your guys to play fast,” Rundle explained. “You want them knowing exactly what they’re doing before the snap so they can key in on what the offense is doing. So the biggest thing for us defensively is allowing our guys to play fast, and offense will be the same way.”
Rundle is optimistic for Sewanee’s next football season. “I think we have some pretty good players that we can do some good things with. Then, you know, going into the game, trying to see how they handle adversity. In terms of when something doesn’t go our way, how quickly we can rally together and get it turned around, that’ll be interesting to see.”
Sewanee’s first football game will be played at home against Kenyon on September 2.