With the school year coming to an end, the University of Indianapolis football team has returned to the gridiron. From six o’clock in the morning sprints to five o’clock in the afternoon meetings, the Greyhounds are constantly preparing for their upcoming season.
On Saturday, April 12, the Greyhounds showcased a preview of the upcoming 2014 season in front of a crowd of more than 2,000 fans for their annual Spring Game. Rather than following its traditional offensive players-versus-defensive players system, the Greyhounds divided into two separate teams for a team black-versus-team white game.
After four 12-minute quarters of action with a running clock, team black emerged victorious over team white, winning by a final score of 21-6.
After suffering a loss to West Texas A&M University in the first round of the postseason last year, returning redshirt junior quarterback Connor Barthel said that there have been gradual improvements during the offseason.
“Everything seems to be going well,” Barthel said. “Offense, defense and special teams have some great players on it, so we’re looking forward to next year.”
There will be players from last year who are no longer going to be with the team because of graduation, and players such as Barthel will knowingly take the reins from week one. Last year, senior quarterback Chris Mills was the starting quarterback heading into the season, but this year is Barthel’s chance at the helm from the start.
“Everyone knows I’m going to be the man now,” Barthel said. “I am enjoying the fact that I get to take control and be so close with everyone.”
According to Barthel, the offense seems to have potential heading into next season, and there is much to look forward to.
Another returning player is junior defensive lineman Lee Campbell. Campbell said that finding success in both the regular season and postseason is the only thing on his mind for the upcoming campaign.
“I want to lead this team to the national championship,” Campbell said.
Campbell also mentioned that there have been many changes on defense, and that the road to strengthening it and maximizing its full potential will be challenging. But according to Campbell, the players are on the right course for doing just that.
“Our offense is a little better than our defense right now,” Campbell said. “But our defense is starting to pick it up.”
Along the way, helping to build the defense to its full potential, are players that played last year but did not start. Those players now have to step into completely new roles to get the defense back to where it needs to be.
“[Sophomores] Sam Daggy and Tommy Taylor, who are both defensive tackles and defensive ends, have stepped up a lot,” Campbell said.
He also mentioned sophomore linebacker Rob Dury as one of the up and coming impact players for the upcoming season.
Head Football Coach Bob Bartolomeo said that he feels the offseason is going well and that all of the players have been stepping up.
“I think I’d be negligent if I started pinpointing guys,” Bartolomeo said. “Our kids that we redshirted last year have done a good job buying in to what we are doing.”
According to Bartolomeo, a lot of hard work and dedication has been put into this offseason leading up to next season’s tough schedule. Bartolomeo talked about the opponents and the tough upcoming schedule, saying it was not what he envisioned.
“The first three [games] are away, and that isn’t the way we wanted it,” Bartolomeo said. “For a situation beyond our control, that’s the way it shook out.”
UIndy will open its 2014 season on Sept. 6 at Saginaw Valley State University. Kickoff will take place at 7 p.m.