The Bury Saints American Football Club have begun pre-season training with their new head coach at the helm, as they target ‘improvement’ in 2018.
Jason Nowlin does not want to lay down unreasonable goals and wants to see how his new side develop over the next few months.
But he said he was immediately struck by the quality of player and strength of knowledge already at the club who are based at Thetford Rugby Club.
Bury Saints compete in the top flight of American Football in the UK, the Premier South of the BAFA National Leagues (BAFANL), although they struggled last year compared to the might of London sides — Blitz and Warriors.
In 2017, they won two of their 10 fixtures and lost the other eight, finishing in fourth place (of five).
This is a statistic Nowlin would like to see improve, given enough time, and feels his last three years in the German Football League provided him with the skills to do this.
He said: “It’s a great challenge and one I’m excited to take on at Bury.
“They are already in the top league and have shown signs of how good they could be.
“I was immediately struck by how good they already are though, the guys are really motivated.
“There’s such passion for the game here and, as an American, it took me by surprise, I didn’t realise it was so popular.
“It makes my job easier of course, as everyone is so knowledgeable about the game and how to play it.
“They’ve not been in the Premiership very long, it’s all been a bit new to them, but I think they’re better than their scores last season.
“They ripped through the lower leagues and that can come with a touch of complacency as well as just learning how to play at a top standard.
“It can have a really heavy mental toll and I think it affected them last season.
“Things will be different this year — and we have at least 30 new players that have joined our ranks too.
“The season is looking good already and we still have months to prepare.”
He said the 2018 fixtures had not yet been released, although he expected their first game to be in April.
Saints chairman, Will Cullum, said: “Welcome to the Saints family, coach.”