Print This Post

Football prepares for season

Posted on 08.21.2013

The University of Indianapolis football team has returned to the gridiron this year with high expectations. Following a school record 10-win season that included both a Great Lakes Valley Conference championship and the school’s first-ever appearance and victory in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II playoffs, the Greyhounds hope to top those accomplishments in 2013.

This year’s team returns 12 starters, five offensive and seven defensive.

On the offensive side, the Greyhounds return key players in senior quarterback Chris Mills and senior running back Klay Fiechter, who were both named to last season’s All-GLVC First Team. The Greyhounds, however, took a hit on the offensive line, losing four out of five starters from a line that allowed the third fewest number of sacks in Division II last season. To go along with these losses, the Greyhounds also lost starters at the wide receiver position, including the 2012 GLVC Offensive Player of the Year Mar’quone Edmonds and Brenden Williams.

Head Football Coach Bob Bartolomeo said that losing that many players is a big hit to the team, but he is still hopeful that this year’s new starters will step up and fill those roles.

“We have some great players; they just haven’t played,” Bartolomeo said. “It will be fun for us, as coaches, [and] a big challenge for the kids that are playing to step up into those roles. We just have to be smart and patient with some of them because they are going to be first-time starters and players.”

Despite the losses on offense, the Greyhounds return some other notable players, including a group of running backs behind Fiechter who could make productive contributions to this year’s team. Included in that group are redshirt junior Matt Ripp, redshirt senior Joumeel McLaurine and redshirt freshman Andrew Walker.

The Hounds also return a group of wide receivers who saw playing time last year, including redshirt junior Greg Johnson, redshirt sophomore Reece Horn and redshirt junior Logan Young. In addition, the Hounds will have redshirt senior Timothy Jones making plays at wide receiver and senior tight end Joe Bell.

For the Hounds’ group of receivers this season, Mills said that the plan of attack through the air will be different from last year.

“It will be interesting,” he said. “I know last year we had Mar’quone [Edmonds], and I threw to him pretty much every down. But this year, I think we will see a more spread out attack, and we will have more of a better distribution of the ball between our tight ends and our wide outs.”

For the running backs, Mills said that having that many players to carry the ball is a big help to him, knowing that they are capable of making a play when the team needs one.

“Having a stable like those guys and having them right next to me in the backfield is a great security blanket,” Mills said. “If we need a play—I mean, I will always make a play myself—but I can always hand it off to one of them and let them run a little bit and let the offensive line do work up front.”

Defensively, the Hounds return seven key starters this year from a defense that in 2012 ranked 11th in Division II in total defense, third in pass defense and 15th in scoring defense. Leading the defense this season are seniors defensive lineman Vince Maida and linebacker Todd Hacker, with juniors defensive back John Strickland and linebacker Koby Orris.

The Hounds did lose some significant defensive players from last year’s team, including four-year starting linebackers Max Davis and Tyler Peterman. The defense also took another blow earlier in the summer when it lost redshirt junior defensive back Nick Wehby to a serious  spinal cord injury. Wehby started all 13 games last year at cornerback for the Hounds, racking up 46 total tackles, two forced fumbles with one recovered and an interception.

In the upcoming schedule, the Hounds will face four non-conference teams at the beginning of the season, all of which did well in their conferences last year—Ashland University, Saint Xavier University (Ill.), and in two back-to-back away games, Drake University and Hillsdale College.

Bartolomeo said that he believes each of the first four games of this season will serve as statement games for the Hounds, based on those opponents’ reputations and what they did last year. The Hounds will get a chance to defeat Ashland in the season opener at home, after the Eagles handed UIndy one of its three losses last year. Bartolomeo said he does not believe that game alone will determine the outcome of the season no matter the final score.

Earlier in the summer, the Greyhounds were predicted to do well with their scheduled games, receiving preseason rankings of first in the GLVC Preseason Coaches’ Poll and 13th in the nation in the Lindy’s College Football Magazine Division II preseason poll.

Mills said that although the Hounds received these rankings, the team must go out and prove itself worthy of them, especially in the first few games.

“Nothing is handed to you in this division,” Mills said. “You’re not going to win six games and then go to the playoffs or a postseason game. You have to win eight to nine games to even come close to getting in the playoffs or a chance at getting in the playoffs.”

The Greyhounds begin their pursuit of another conference crown and playoff berth at 6 p.m. on Sept. 7, when they open the season at home against Ashland in Key Stadium.


RSS Feed  Follow Us on Twitter  Facebook Profile