A new era begins at the University of Northern Iowa as the Panthers and new coach Mark Farley open pre-season drills. The Panthers were 7-4 in the final year under coach Mike Dunbar but missed out on the one-double-a national playoffs. U-N-I is picked for fifth in the pre-season Gateway Conference poll and Farley says while this is a time of transition for the program he does not consider this a rebuilding season. He says he will only compare his program to what he considers UNI football to be, great football. He says “the future is now” for the Northern Iowa program. Farley says being picked for fifth in the Gateway is not a surprise. He says it has nothing to do with respect, as the team was fourth in the league last year and has to climb the ladder back to the top of the conference.Farley took over after working on Terry Allen’s staff at Kansas and says he is looking forward to the battles of the Gateway.U-N-I opens the season at home Thursday, August 30th against Wayne State and Michigan.