U.N.I. coach Mark Farley has high hopes for this season but says the Panthers have a tough opener on Saturday night when they visit the Iowa State Cyclones. He says they have a big and talented offensive line, an experienced secondary and a great bunch of receivers. Farley says this is a better team than they had last year.
The Panthers lost to the Cyclones 27-0 last season. The Panthers will try to find a way to slow down a Cyclone offense that will be led by new starter at quarterback Steele Jantz. Farley says Jantz fits what they do and is a big strong player and he says deciding early on him allowed Jantz to prepare and get all the reps in practice.
Farley still needs to settle on a kicker. Sophomore Tyler Sievertson and freshman Michael Schmadeke are battling for the job. He says they will compete this week and look at how they do in practice. Farley says they may make a final decision on Saturday as he says one could kick well in the UNI-Dome, while another does better on grass.
Farley says FCS teams can compete with teams from the FBS if they have a large number of experienced players. He says those teams have bigger budgets and recruit nationally and he says you have to be very particular in who you recruit and then do a great job of developing the players over five-year time period.
By Elwin Huffman KOEL Oelwein