The new school year is upon us in Dillon and that means new beginnings, on and off the field. New mom Tami is struggling big time without Eric around, while Matt, Jason and Landry are all having difficulty adjusting to new lifestyles. Let's begin with Landry, who is struggling on the Dillon Panthers roster but having an even harder time dealing with the fallout from the dead rapist.
With her attacker vanquished, Landry and Tyra are finally moving away from just friends to something more. As he continues to feel internal strife for what he did, she tells him to be a man. That's when he loses it, and while he is on the brink of tears, Landry tells her that being a man is not what she thinks it means, but he would do it again just the same, because he is in love with her and the man hurt her.
Later that evening, following his declaration of love, Tyra clandestinely enters Landry's house and tells him that she fears something will happen to him because of her ... and that he is the best guy she has ever known. They kiss awkwardly, slowly and most of all passionately in his bedroom. It looks as if she spends the night. Go Lyra!
As Landry and Tyra get closer, things are heading the other way for Julie and Matt. Julie has had enough, for many reasons. It's not just the Swede, it's everything - turning into her parents, wondering if she's trapped in this relationship, etc. After dodging him for what seems like an eternity, Julie finally breaks it off with him at the end. It's sad, but typical of teens who don't know what they want.
Things also aren't looking bright for another Taylor, Tami. She is having a really tough time handling the baby by herself, without Eric around. There is a new history teacher and interim guidance counselor who she tries to help with his position and who tries to help her with the baby. One has to wonder where this character will lead.
In Austin, Eric is put in charge of taking a star TMU player to an NCAA disciplinary hearing after he took gifts illegally from a booster. At the hearing, he promises to whip the prima donna into shape and the board is convinced to the point where it hands down a relatively light three-game suspension. The head coach at TMU tells Eric that he must have been one hell of a high school coach.
Jason is able to move his right hand and make a fist, which he takes as a sign. He also has had dreams in which Tami tells him he can walk again. Even as his physical therapist tries to quash his dreams, Jason remains optimistic, hearing from a fellow paraplegic that there are experimental stem cell surgeries being done in Mexico. One gets the impression that he won't rest until he has at least done everything in his power.
Having already lost his family, Buddy Garrity is having a real tough time with life after new head coach MacGregor moves the annual Panthers pre-season pep rally away from its usual venue, Garrity Motors, and to the ranch of one of the assistant coaches. With his kids and wife separated from him, albeit because of his own actions, Buddy really couldn't afford to lose Dillon football. He hits rock bottom that night.
Drinking way too much at the Panthers' pep rally, he ends up nearly coming to blows with the new coaching staff late that night. Fortunately, Tim is there to break it up, and to help get Buddy home at Lyla's urging after he passes out. In a sad but touching moment, Tim kisses Lyla good night on the cheek after getting a blubbering Buddy into bed.