The North Greenville University football team opened its fall drills on Friday, a scant two weeks before its opener at Mars Hill in North Carolina August 28.
The central foundation for Head Coach Jamey Chadwell and the Crusaders remains “Strike the Stone,” but this season, with a full recruiting class behind him, Chadwell knows a few more cracks may appear in the stone of the 11-game 2010 schedule.
“Now that we’ve been through an off season with these players, all of our players have a better understanding of what we expect from them, and we know what the expect from us,” the second year mentor said. “We have nine seniors and seven juniors on the squad out of 100 guys, so we are still going to be really young; and, a lot of those young guys will be playing. Experience does matter, but there’s a youngness and newness to the freshmen and transfers, but the older guys have done a great job of buying into what we we’re doing and they’re demanding it from the younger players.”
The Crusaders open at South Atlantic Conference opponent Mars Hill at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28, and then play at Division I rival Charleston Southern on Saturday, Sept. 4. Following a road trip to Jacksonville to play Edward Waters, NGU will open its four-game home schedule on Saturday, September 18 against Lenoir Rhyne also of the SAC.
“We don’t as demanding a schedule that we had last year, but our first five games will be a true indicator of what kind of year we can have,” Chadwell added. “We’ll face adversity the first five games, but we faced it every week last season. The schedule is more conducive to our program this year. I wish we could play the tougher opponents at the end of the season, but this whole year is about building confidence and getting better each week.”
NGU will travel to Presbyterian Saturday, Sept. 25, and then will host Ohio State-Newark Oct. 2 and Wright State of Ohio on Thursday, Oct. 7 at Younts Stadium.
After a trip to LaGrange College in Georgia on Oct. 16, the Crusaders will complete the home and home schedule with Edward Waters when they host them for homecoming Saturday, Oct. 23 at 4:00 p.m. NGU will complete its schedule Oct. 30 at Notre Dame College near Cleveland, Ohio, and the finale at UNC Pembroke on the road November 6.
NGU will enter into an eight-game scheduling alliance with the South Atlantic Conference in 2011. “We’re not looking that far ahead, but obviously it will be great playing teams close to us where we can establish rivalries and families will have to travel no more than three hours to watch our games,” Chadwell noted. “It’s something for us to look forward to as we continue to build the foundation of a winning program.”
A veteran returning offensive line will be key to a successful year as the Crusaders must identify a quarterback after losing both returning signal callers to injury during spring practice. “Reggie Lewis and Isaiah Johnson have been taking a lot of snaps for us. Everybody that played last year on our offensive line is back, and they are a mature, older group. We will lean on them heavily early especially with a new quarterback in the lineup. At running back, sophomore Justin Beasley returns and Marcus Wilson, who was injured in the first game last season, is also expected to play quite a bit. Four freshmen, Idris Anderson, Kyle Peck, Eric Beeks, and Teryan Rucker will also compete for playing time at the slot/running back positions.”
Sean Wright, the Crusaders go to receiver, will be back after missing last year with an injury. Kamrie Connell and Mychal Cannon will also be at wide receiver. Freddie Martino showed us some positive things in the spring, and Charvous Claytor is also another slot who transferred in we have high hopes for.”