Here is the story on the University of Findlay football team that ran in The Courier this morning. I'll share my thoughts on the opening of camp later this weekend. Have a great day everyone.
By BRIAN LESTER
Nine months have passed since the University of Findlay closed the 2009 football season with a 41-28 loss to rival Ashland.
Time apparently doesn't heal all wounds. The setback was still fresh on the mind of senior wide receiver Dustin Zielaskiewicz on the opening day of preseason camp Thursday.
"It was a tough way for things to end but we will see Ashland again this year," Zielaskiewicz said as he attempted to remember the date of the game with the Eagles (Oct. 30). "The good thing is that it's a new year and it's exciting to be back in camp. We're ready to get to work."
With the temperature in the low 90s and the humidity almost unbearable, the Oilers spent two hours on the practice field.
Fourth-year head coach Jon Wauford and his staff pushed the players through various drills.
Wauford said the team came into camp a step or two behind in terms of being in shape.
"We have some catching up to do because we are not in the condition I hoped we would be in at this point," Wauford said. "We have a lot of work to do in the next few weeks."
The Oilers are coming off a 7-4 season, their first winning campaign since 2004, and nearly made the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time.
A crushing 24-16 loss to Saginaw Valley State in week 10 killed their playoff hopes. The Oilers finished 6-4 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
"Our goal is to improve as a team and build on what we did last year," junior defensive back Donte Johnson said. "It's hard not to think about the first game, but right now, we have to focus on getting better."
As was the case a year ago, the Oilers entered camp without a starter at the quarterback position.
Andrew Beam threw for 2,179 yards and 14 touchdowns a year ago as a senior transfer from Bowling Green.
Former McComb standout Kevan Westenbarger (redshirt freshman) took a lot of snaps on Thursday as did freshman Zach Tate from Central High School in Columbia, Tenn.
Senior John Soli, a transfer from Tennessee-Martin, is expected to compete for the job as well.
"The quarterback battle is wide open," Wauford said. "We'll evaluate their abilities and go with the player that gives us the best chance to win football games."
UF opens its season Sept. 4 at Donnell Stadium against Tusculum (Tenn.). Kickoff is scheduled for noon.
The Oilers will be gunning for their ninth consecutive season-opening victory.
The Pioneers are coming off a 3-7 season and play in the South Atlantic Conference.
"We have a countdown clock to our first game, right down to the seconds," Zielaskiewicz said. "I can't wait for the season to start."