08/14/13 — Success breeds higher expectations at Princeton

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Success breeds higher expectations at Princeton

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 14, 2013 1:47 PM

Outsiders may look at the unfamiliar expectations surrounding Princeton's football program and call it pressure.

The Bulldogs simply see it as one more reason to play with a sense of urgency.

After going 2-7 during the regular season in 2012, Princeton made an improbable run to the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A (small-school) eastern regional championship game.

The buzz created from that postseason success has followed the program throughout the offseason -- and brought higher expectations with it.

"There's more expectations this year since we went that far last year," Princeton junior quarterback Michael Wooten said. "I don't think there's really pressure, but I think we're expecting to win more games during the regular season this year and not have to worry about getting in the playoffs or not.

"I think everybody at the school has a different mindset about us now."

Rather than shy away from the pressure, second-year Bulldogs' head coach Derrick Minor has embraced it and adopted the phrase "One More" as the team's theme for this season. The mantra is a nod to Princeton coming up one game short of playing for a state championship.

Minor and his staff have implemented a rigorous off-season workout schedule with an emphasis on the weight room. The results from the hard work have shown on the practice field, in 7-on-7 passing league games and in scrimmages against larger schools.

"The kids aren't feeling pressure, they just feel like this is what we do. It's a mentality," Minor said. "We had a great jamboree at Franklinton and we represented against some big schools. It is just one of those things where we have urgency. The expectations are high, but again, the kids aren't feeling the pressure."

Junior tailback Johnny Frasier was relatively unknown to those outside the Bulldogs' program until he rushed for 1,792 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2012. Frasier has dedicated himself to the weight room this summer while gaining attention from both North Carolina and N.C. State at camps.

Despite his rapid rise from an unknown tailback to a sought after recruit, Frasier also insists there's no pressure to produce this season.

"You want to win, but you want to win as a team and you can't be too selfish about it," Frasier said. "If we work as a team I know my college future is going to be secure because my team is going to help us win it.

"I don't have to be a star. We're a team and we win together."