After making his NFL debut for the New Orleans Saints, tight end Adam Trautman now faces two former Flyers, Jon Gruden (1986 graduate) and Austin King, Trautman’s offensive coordinator last year. Photo courtesy of Flyer News.
Although the football team at the University of Dayton will not be taking the field this fall, five former Flyers will be involved in Monday night’s Saints-Raiders match-up.
In what will be the first game played at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev., head coach Jon Gruden (1986 UD grad) will lead the host Raiders against the visiting New Orleans Saints, who drafted tight end Adam Trautman with the No. 105 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Also on Gruden’s staff is offensive quality control coach Austin King, who had served as the offensive coordinator at UD from 2015-19, and linebackers coach David Lippincott (served as a defensive assistant and defensive line co-coach during his undergraduate studies at UD). Joe Lombardi (defensive line coach at UD 1996-98) is the Saints’ quarterbacks coach.
Gruden is likely the most well-known former Flyer, and his Raiders team will look to carry over momentum from a 34-30 win over the Carolina Panthers in which they put up 372 yards of total offense.
For Trautman and the Saints in week one, a 34-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got the season started off on the right foot. Although Trautman played just 7 snaps, he made an impressive pancake block of 2-time Pro Bowl linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul.
“I ended up putting him on the ground and that felt pretty good,” Trautman told Dayton Daily News. “That definitely stands out for me from my first game, for sure.”
Now, as both teams move into an important Monday Night Football game, the opportunity is there for King and Trautman to prove themselves (Gruden, Lippincott and Lombardi are long-stablished in the NFL).
For King, coaching against one of the NFL’s best defenses will be a challenge. For Trautman, the injury to stand-out wide receiver Michael Thomas could mean more opportunities for the rookie tight end to make his first NFL catch.
Whether Trautman makes a massive difference or not, Monday night’s game is a continuing chance for the UD football program to be represented by a player in the NFL for the first time since Bill Westbeld was selected with the No. 281 overall pick in the 1977 NFL Draft (though Westbeld never played a snap).
The exposure that UD football gets by having a player and two coaches in the NFL is greater than any time in the last four decades, save Gruden winning the Super Bowl as head coach of the Buccaneers in 2002. Back in early May, UD football head coach Rick Chamberlin highlighted the importance of Trautman’s selection and what it means for his program.
“(The selection of Trautman) brings some national attention and recognition to the type of men we have here,” Chamberlin said. “We don’t have a draftee every year, but this shows people what we have here… why we win.”