Kicking off their new season, the University of Indianapolis football team defeated Hillsdale College 39-20 in their opener, according to UIndy Athletics. Football head coach Chris Keevers said the team sets their goals at the beginning of the season, and they do not talk about them again.
“We mentioned our goals [at the] very beginning of the season, and our goals are simple,” Keevers said. “Our goals are to win the conference, qualify for the playoffs, win in the playoffs and then win the national championship. Those are our four goals every year and we talk about them at the very beginning of the year, and we don’t talk about them again…. We’re one day at a time, one week at a time… If you go one game at a time, you’ll get to where you want to be. But if you just keep looking forward or looking back, you’re asking for problems. So, we don’t talk about it.”
Keevers said he has adopted this philosophy from the previous UIndy football head coach, and has followed it ever since. According to sophomore quarterback Gavin Sukup, he felt the culture of the team’s mentality even in his first few months with the team.
“…The culture here is to go game by game, which is, personally, how it should be because you [could] overlook opponents,” Sukup said. “If football teams come out, they [could] punch you in the mouth, and it’s hard to rebound sometimes. So really, it’s a cultural thing… This is already built in within the program here.”
Last season, the Greyhounds lifted the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) trophy while stamping their place in the NCAA tournament, according to UIndy Athletics. However, the team lost some valuable players, but Keevers said they have talented players ready to step into those roles.
“Every year is a new year… we lost some good players, [and] we gained some really good players,” Keevers said. “…We’ve got some really dynamic receivers, we’ve got some running backs that we like and think will step up and play very well… Every year changes, with who’s the better players and who’s their leaders and that’s what’s exciting. Every year is a new year for us. It’s why I like college football… Every year teams have strengths and weaknesses, and you got to play to your strengths and cover up your weaknesses as much as you can and [that] makes college football fun. We’ve got a good football team; we got a bunch of guys who have worked really hard… They care about winning when you have that, you have a good chance.”
Creating a strong connection within the team is important, according to Keevers. Having a tight bond is something important for a football team to be successful Sukup said, it is something summer workouts help with that having just transferred from College of DuPage.
“It’s the game of football: if you don’t have strong connections or teammates, you aren’t able to produce [an] efficient [job] stopping the ball,” Sukup said. “Summer camp helps a lot of that, you’re around [the team] all day, eating together.”
According to Keevers, the family atmosphere starts with the coaches hired and transitions to the players. Keevers said one of his favorite parts of this team is their love for football.
“[The team] is a bunch of kids who love football…,” Keevers said. “In terms of character and quality people [they are] a joy to be around. I really like this football team.”
With more home games in the season, Keevers said he hopes to see more students at the game, and he encourages them to come out and have a good time.
“I want to get students out to the games…, it’s very important to me that our student base [is there.]” Keevers said. “It’s a good product if you come out and take a look at it and get here. Everybody’s having fun…. It helps when our students are involved, my whole thing is together, we win. That’s not just the team. That’s the whole university.”