The Northern Iowa football team will get a late start on the season, and that leaves coach Mark Farley with a lot of questions about how things will work out. Farley says it’ll be interesting, and usually he has something to say about the start of the season, but he says he can’t find anything other than “interesting.” Farley says the changes in players and the schedule add up for a unique season.
Farley says they had to start planing for this in January, mostly because the schedule sets up so that they will play a week after everyone else opens the season, and then won’t have an open date during the season. Farley says without the open date, once they get into the season, they will need to get better every week and won’t have a break to make adjustments. The Panthers missed out on the national playoffs in 2009 after posting a 7-4 record.
Farley says they should have a good offense. Farley says they are good at quarterback, receiver, running back and tight end, and the offensive line has the capability of being good, but they are inexperienced and they will have to find a way to make them solid early because they don’t have the time to let them grow into it. He says the defense should also be strong, with the defensive line the biggest question mark.
Farley says the defensive line is very similar to the offensive line, and they will have to grow as a group to become a great unit and make them a very good football team. The Panthers have been picked to finish fourth in the pre-season Missouri Valley Football Conference poll. U.N.I. has won or shared five conference titles in the last decade.
They don’t open until a September 11th matchup at home against North Dakota State in what will be their conference opener.
By Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Oelwein