The UNI football team will be a battered bunch when the Panthers host South Dakota this Saturday. The Panthers have learned that they will be without starting wide receiver Phil Wright for the rest of the season, while David Johnson is still expected to be less than 100% with a hip pointer.
Wright is the fourth offensive starter that UNI has lost for the season, so Panther coach Mark Farley says other players will have to play through some of their injuries.
“We have to be smart with how we practice because of the numbers we have…but yet we still have to get in and get done what we need to get done to perform on Saturdays. They’re going to have to be ironmen,” Farley says.
Farley says that the passing game is one place where the Panthers will be working in some new faces. He says as they go farther down the depth chart it makes you look harder at personel so they have the offensive package they need.
Despite being off to an 0-2 start to their conference schedule, Farley says he believes the Panthers are still in good shape for the postseason as they have a win against a Big Sky, a Southland and a Big 12 conference win and unlike other years they have quality wins. He says they lost to the number one team by a point and the other conference game in overtime.
In just their second year of FCS football, South Dakota has risen to become the 6th ranked defense in the nation. Farley says the Coyotes’ coaching staff, led by head coach Joe Glenn, deserves much of the credit for their progress. He says they have invested more in the program and have coaches who are more adept to FCS football.
The Panthers and the Coyotes will kick off at 4:00 Saturday in the UNI-Dome.
(Reporting by Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls)