MOREHEAD - Preseason football camp is underway at Morehead State University as newcomers reported to Jayne Stadium on Saturday and returning players arrived Sunday.
More than 100 players are gearing up for the 2012 season. The Eagles will have approximately 30 practices this month in addition to film, conditioning, team and administrative sessions.
“This is a wonderful time of year for football coaches, players and fans,” MSU Coach Matt Ballard said. “The newcomers have been dreaming about playing college football all their lives, and our returning players are hungry to improve on the season we had in 2011.”
MSU returns five individuals who earned Pioneer Football League postseason honors a year ago - Joey Clegg, Rainer Duzan, Zach Lewis, Eric Matteson and Donte Sawyer. All five have received 2012 preseason honors in addition to Dexter Geohagen and Zachary Senvisky.
“We’re excited about the starters we have coming back in all three phases of the game,” Ballard said. “We also have some starting spots and key back-up roles up for grabs entering camp, so it will be interesting to see who rises to the occasion over these next four weeks.”
The Eagles led all 2011 Football Championship Subdivision schools in first downs (25.2), while ranking second in total offense (478.9) and passing yards (358.2) per game. MSU also ranked first in the league with 36.1 points per outing,
MSU set 17 school records a year ago - eight team and nine individual. Lewis led the way by establishing single-season marks for completions (324), attempts (513) and passing yards (3,585).
More than 40 of the 100+ student-athletes are first-year players in the program. Two of the newcomers are transfers, while the remainder of the rookies are true freshmen.
“It’s fascinating to watch young men from 14 different states mold into one cohesive unit,” Ballard said. “We will spend a lot of time on conditioning and X’s and O’s before our first game, but we have also designed some activities to help build the all-important team chemistry.”
Ballard’s assistant coaches for the 2012 campaign are John Gilliam, Rob Tenyer, Chris Garner, Paul Humphries, Thomas Duffy, Matt McCutchan, Mike Simmons and Brett Rude.