The Drake Bulldogs tied for the Pioneer Football League championship last season, and they hope to take another step and win it outright this season. Coach Chris Creighton says it won’t be easy, but they are ready.
“We’re real excited about it, we love the challenge of tiring to be the first consecutive champions I think in 80 years here at Drake football,” Creighton says.
“It’s a goal that we want to accomplish for sure. We know it will be incredibly difficult to achieve that goal. We have to overcome the natural apathy that often accompanies success.”
He says the effort to repeat began just after last season was over. “A really neat thing about last year is that we finished the season, we had won the championship and we had talked about it last camp how we were going to have this emptiness in our stomachs, at the end of season after having won a championship, that we weren’t done yet,” Creighton explains.
“It’s hard to get guys to understand the difference between going after your best versus just going after winning a championship. But I think that Monday after the season was where we took the biggest jump.” Creighton has quarterback Mike Piatkowski, the 2011 PFL Offensive Player of the Year, back to help the Bulldogs try to reach the goal of repeating.
He says even Piatkowski has areas where he can improve. “As a team we threw 14 interceptions last year and that is something I promise you that Mike Piatkowski wants to get better at,” Creighton says. He says Piatkowski is a very good football player who knows he can get better.
The senior quarterback is like another coach on the field for Creighton. “I treat him really no different than the staff, my meetings with him, my conversations with him. He knows the offense really well. I’m putting him in a lot of positions to teach and make decisions,” Creighton says.
He says Piatkowski They also have six other starters back on offense and six on defense. Creighton says finding a kicker and the special teams are an area they need to improve on is fall camp. There are also some new faces on offense that will need to fit in.
Creighton says they have experience returning, but lost a good group of starters from the offensive line. “I think that offensive linemen dictate the moral of any football team. I think there (isn’t) another group of guys who love football more than offensive linemen,” Creighton says. “So for those guys to really come into their own coming out of camp is another spot we want to feel great about coming out of camp.”
The Bulldogs open the season August 30th against Grandview.