JU Dolphin Football Preview

John Joyce

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2008 Coach of the Year Kerwin Bell and company have enjoyed a lot of success the last couple of years, so only one question remains as the new season approaches: What’s left to do? To follow up the title season in 2008 Jr. Quarterback Josh McGregor broke the team’s single season passing record throwing for 2,693 yards in 2009.

This year the seniors on the team will likely become the winningest class in JU football history with just five wins, though eleven is preferred. Standout senior running back Rudell Small has been honored with a nomination for the prestigious Walter Payton Award, based on the numbers he’s posted which also have him leading JU in just about every all-time rushing category. But if you ask Rudell he’ll tell you that it’s McGregor, and not he, who deserves the credit.

“He brings us together. One good play sparks the whole team and he keeps us going.”

The accomplishments of the past two seasons and Coach Bell’s persistent emphasis on execution have fostered a cohesiveness and trust amongst the entire team.  The initially shy and soft-spoken left tackle Leonard Payton, listed at 6’3’ 295, stressed that the team’s outlook for this season is good.

“Were polishing”, he said, breaking into a huge smile and adding “we’ve got the screws and bolts in place, just have to tighten them”.

Payton shares the rest of the team’s confidence in the star QB-RB tandem, but the team concept prevails.  The replacement receivers are coming along and freshmen tackles Juan Pimienta and Montavis Mack have made impressive strides developing both physically and mentally.

Optimism is accompanied by toughness. “Rudell is still one of the hardest working guys in the gym. He’s lifting, squatting. We feed off of him, we are all getting ready”, said Payton.

Junior Defensive Tackle Ronaldo Fines told me the team expects to be the favorite to win this year. He stated,  “Anything less is unacceptable.”

If you’re wondering  what you can do to help support the team all you need to know is that they accept no failure, doubt or criticism as absolute. Their confidence is hard fought and well earned. So when you see a player on campus and you start to feel that energy surge as the season draws near, tell them what they told me to tell you: GET READY!

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