New Year, Field and Faces for Football

The linemen runs drills at the football team’s practice on Monday. The Bulldogs had the conference’s best rushing defense a season ago. (Photo by Rachel Steinhoff/TMN)

Football season is knocking at the door, and with a brand new field and a group of new faces, the Truman State University Bulldogs are ready to get back at it.

        The Bulldogs finished off last year with an overall record of 8-3, while going 7-1 in conference play, consequently giving them a share in the conference title with Southwest Baptist University. With the success of last year, though, defensive coordinator Kellen Nesbitt said the team still must look to improve.

“You just can’t assume, with all that back [defensive and offensive starters], that you are going to get back to where you were,” Nesbitt said.

Nesbitt said the team will approach training camp focused on the day at hand.

Training camp helps new players get acquainted with a new system and the devotion that goes into winning games. Assistant coach and leader of the strength and conditioning program Jeramey Dockery said this devotion starts in the summer with off-season workouts.

“The summer workouts were great,” Dockery said. “There was a great turnout and great commitment.”

Almost 90 percent of the players that ended on the roster last year came back for the summer to workout with their teammates, many of them veterans of multiple seasons with the Bulldogs.

The offense runs a handoff drill at Monday’s practice. Led by its young core, the offense improved last season making them the fifth best scoring offense in the conference. (Photo by Rachel Steinhoff/TMN)

        Senior wide receiver Kyle Spratt said the players who have put in the work everyday are ready to get back out on the field and get back to where they were. For some, this is their last season and they want to leave the program on a high note.

“I think we’re seeing the rebirth of a real winning culture as well as both a determined and talented brand of Bulldog football,” Spratt said.

This mindset and the promise of the younger Bulldogs such as redshirt freshman defensive lineman A.J. Devecchi and reigning freshman of the year Barr could mean fun years ahead for the Bulldogs.

        Regardless of the heat, they will all be in the same mindset come training camp as they work to sharpen their game and make their way to an outright conference championship, and possibly a national playoff bid.

Training camp is underway for the Bulldogs. Head Coach Gregg Nesbitt said they finished their first seven practices and then moved to the rugby field on Monday. They will stay there until the renovations are finished.