Wofford’s Eric Breitenstein Wants More
By Matthew Osborne
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Recently named as the Southern Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Eric Breitenstein currently sits third on Wofford’s all-time rushing list.
For Wofford senior FB Eric Breitenstein, who is the FCS’s active leader in rushing yards and touchdowns, personal accolades do little to bring him a sense of accomplishment.
The consummate team player, Breitenstein has been a vital part of a Wofford program that has made the FCS playoffs in three of his four years on campus (he was granted a medical redshirt in 2009).
Recently named as the Southern Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Breitenstein currently sits third on Wofford’s all-time rushing list with 3,695 career rushing yards.
Although Breitenstein has undoubtedly cemented his status as a Terrier legend, the North Carolina native still has one more goal he would like to achieve before leaving school in Spartanburg.
“Honestly, if we don’t win a championship, [the season] is not as successful as I want it to be,” Breitenstein told Southern Pigskin at the recent Southern Conference Media Day in Spartanburg. “There’s success in every win, and there’s things you can learn from every win or loss, but if we don’t win, I’m going to be disappointed.”
As a fifth-year senior, his teammates will naturally turn to Breitenstein for leadership when the Terriers start fall camp this week.
In his own mind, however, Breitenstein has never considered himself to be an extremely vocal leader. Rather, he has attempted to lead his teammates by example, letting his actions speak louder than his words.
“I’ve never really been much of a vocal leader, whether it was high school or college. I’m not super vocal to the team, but what I try to do most is lead by example,” said Breitenstein. “This year, I’ll probably take on a more vocal role, trying to push the guys, because I want this to be the best year yet.”
The Terriers will be one of the league’s more experienced teams this fall, with 11 redshirt seniors on the roster.
While those 11 redshirt seniors have been a part of one of the most successful stints of football in Wofford history, the players still are out to win their first SoCon championship and FCS national championship.
On the brink of taking home the conference title last season, the Terriers fell at home to Georgia Southern by a score of 31-10 in November. Had Wofford topped the Eagles that afternoon, the Terriers would have been SoCon champions.
Although the loss to Georgia Southern undoubtedly left a bitter taste in Breitenstein’s mouth, he says that the team does not have to make a slew of changes in order to take home the conference title in 2012.
“We just have to play our game. There were some crazy things that happened last year, whether it was jumping offside or just stupid mistake. Stuff like that is going to happen throughout the course of the year, but we have to eliminate it as best we can,” Breitenstein commented. “We have proven year-in and year-out that we are a great team, we are tough to handle. We just have to take that next step. We have to go further.”
In arguably the toughest conference in FCS football, it is going to take excellent play and leadership from a talented player such as Breitenstein in order for the Terriers to accomplish all of their goals.
While Wofford has fallen just short of that elusive conference championship in recent years, you can never count out a team with a brilliant leader like Breitenstein.
Breitenstein has already solidified his status as a SoCon legend. Now, he is focusing all of his attention towards parlaying his individual accomplishments into team success.