The U.N.I. football team wrapped up spring drills with their annual spring game on Friday. The game ended up tied at 14, and the score was indicative of the scrimmage’s competitiveness.

Panther coach Mark Farley says that he even let the game go long because he liked how the players were competing at the end. He says he let the game go on because he was getting what he wanted and the players were playing like a real game. Farley says he was especially pleased with quarterback Jared Lanpher, who has established himself as the back-up to Tirrell Rennie.

Farley says Lanpher grew up from being nervous to a player who was doing what he was supposed to do and hitting his targets. In addition to Lanpher, Farley says that a few other members of U.N.I.’s freshman class made big improvements during the spring. He says if they can mix the freshmen in, they will have a good mix in the fall.

While Farley is pleased with where his team is at, he says that the players will have to take it upon themselves to continue to improve between now and fall camp. Farley says the stuff they do between now and the first game is the most important, as he says the volunteer time the players put in the next 13 weeks will make them the team that they become.

The Panthers will return 18 starters from last year’s Missouri Valley Football Conference championship team. U.N.I. opens the 2011 season on September 3 at Iowa State.

By Jesse Gavin KCNZ Cedar Falls