Lofty expectations are nothing new for the U.N.I. football program and hopes are high for this upcoming season. Fourteen starts are back from last year’s team that made it all the way to the semifinal round of the national playoffs and they are the pre-season choice to win the Missouri Valley Conference title.
Panther coach Mark Farley says the senior class is 31-8 in the time they have been at the school and there are not many players that have that kind of record. He says there are also a lot of young players who do not have that experience.
Farley says pre-season camp will be even more important this year because many of their biggest games are early in the schedule. He says the schedule has been flip-flopped, so some of the key games come early in the year that used to be played at the end of the season.
Quarterback Pat Grace returns after throwing for more than two thousand yards and rushing for more than 600 in ’08. Farley says Grace is a great talent with a great arm and the ability to run the football. Farley says the strength of the team begins up front on both sides of the ball.
He says the offensive and defensive line are always critical. Farley says if they can run the football, that helps the other phase of the game. U.N.I. opens the season September fifth at Iowa.