Its been one year, eight months, and 24 days since the University of Mary football team played in a real football game, but finally fall practice has returned as the Marauders prepare for their first game in just 23 days from now.
“We’ve been going against the blue and orange, you know ourselves, for two years now,” junior linebacker Devin Beck said. “You know we’re buddies out here, we love getting after it, but it’s just something different going against somebody else and that’s something we’re really looking forward to.”
Spending two springs and a fall doing nothing but practicing against your own team can get tiring. Head Coach Craig Bagnell credits his upperclassmen for sticking with the script when it mattered most.
“The thing I’ll give them a lot of credit for is they really didn’t have days last year where it was just like, ‘Ahh why are we doing this?'” Head Coach Craig Bagnell said. “You know, the guys understood what we were doing and what we were trying to accomplish, and so now it’s just a little extra juice knowing that hey we’re about to play a full year, and the guys are fired up for it.”
The Marauders will rely on those same upperclassmen to set the standard this season with 43 newcomers on the roster.
“A game is definitely different, so it’s really important that we recreate a game environment as much as we can in practices,” Bagnell said. “Last spring for those guys to be able to compete in some joint practices that was really key for us too.”
Bagnell says the 1,000 plus reps his team got in the offseason has created an ability to do more this year, and the Marauders want to do more in search of their first winning season since 2013.
“The number one thing is the culture,” senior wide receiver Luke Little said. “You know, when I got here guys were just kind of here to play college football, and now guys want to win. Guys are excited to be a part of something special. They want to win and they have the mentallity, the attitude to be a winner.”
It’s clear that the energy at fall practice is sky high, and the expectations are even higher.