While the UNI football team returns several starters in the backfield from last season’s 10-3 team, the key for how well the Panthers do offensively will be determined by their offensive line. Northern Iowa has three starters on the offensive line coming back from last year’s team that helped the Panthers rush for over 2700 yards. Anchoring the Panthers offensive line will be junior center John Schabilion. Schabilion, a 6-3 290-pounder from Bettendorf, expects UNI to be strong up front. “We’re confident this year, but at the same time we can’t be overly confident…we can’t take anything for granted. We have to work to get better all the time,” Schabilion says. Schabilion sees UNI able to dominate up front because of their size. Running the footbal is a big part of UNI’s game plan, he says, and a lot of the Panthers on the line have spent the summer bulking up in the weight room. The Panthers have a very competitive schedule this season but Schabilion is looking forward to it. “I think we’re up to the challenge this year,” he says. “It’ll make for some exciting games; some fun football.” UNI will open the season at Iowa State.
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