Dayton football begins its season against non-conference foe, Robert Morris, on Saturday,
September 1 at 12 p.m. The Flyers will be hosting this match at Welcome Stadium before they start their two-game road trip to finish off non-conference play.
The Colonials are coming off a 2-9 season last year. However, that may be deceiving in the eyes of Flyer fans, as one of their two wins came against Dayton a year ago. Dayton, on the other hand, finished their season 5-6, one of just two seasons in the past 41 years that have been under .500.
To say there is a lot to prove this year for both teams would be an understatement, especially for Robert Morris, who is being led by a new head coach for this year.
“The opener is always a question mark, because you’re not sure what this team is like until you play somebody new,” head coach Rick Chamberlin said. “And this year I think it makes it especially tough with Robert Morris having a new coaching staff, new philosophies, new offense and defense. So, it will be an eye-opener for us and the team on Saturday.”
Dayton also has question marks they hope can be answered at certain positions. As seasons end, players graduate and leave the program, so new faces need to step up and lead the team. Dayton has 17 returning starters, but lost five starters on the defensive side and are looking for players to fill the voids left behind.
“Our biggest question mark is the inexperience on defense. How the defensive players are going to respond at key positions like corner and linebacker,” coach Chamberlin said. “We have veterans like David Leisring, Nick Surges and Tim Simon, but we have some new faces out there and will have to see how they respond in a game.”
While the defense might have more question marks than answers, the offense should be ready to go from the first whistle. It returns nine starters and has redshirt senior Alex Jeske under center who will look to bounce-back from his season last year where he sat out five games due to injury.
As for Chamberlin, he is ready for the start of the season and for a chance to see what kind of legacy this team can make.
“This is a brand new year, brand new team, and this team has to show its identity and make its mark this season,” Coach Chamberlin said. “That’s what we are working towards, and it all get’s started here this Saturday.”
Fans are also encouraged to bring school supplies to donate to “Crayons to Classrooms”, a local non-profit. People who do bring school supplies will also be eligible for a prize giveaway at halftime.
Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn.