[caption id="attachment_349" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Blugold football players pratice hard in the trenches Friday, Aug. 27 at Simpson Field."][/caption]The Blugolds football team will be trying to improve upon its fourth place finish in conference last year.
Coach Todd Glaser believes that he is fielding a solid team.
"We're hopefully going to be physical on both sides of the ball," said Glaser. "Special teams-wise we'll be fast. We've got a good group of guys that are really bright."
He thinks that his group of seniors, though small, lead the team well. Glaser also highlights the team's chemistry and says that not making mistakes will be important as well.
Last season the team, which was 6-4 (4-3 conference), gave up over 32 points per game according to the 2010 UW-Eau Claire Football Fact Sheet.
Senior defensive back Matt Mattek said that the team had a tendency to lose control of games.
"Things would go wrong and it would almost snowball," Mattek said. "We couldn't stop a bad thing… we get that dark cloud over our heads and it would sit there the rest of the game."
Coach Glaser feels that they will be an improved defensive squad this year.
"Defensively we got some guys back that were injured last year," he said. "We're another year older. We're bigger, faster and stronger. We've had a good camp on defense and we're expecting to be a lot better defensively this year."
On offense, Glaser has to fill a few holes on a team that scored over 30 points a game last year, according to the Fact Sheet. He will have a new starting quaterback and says that it's between two players: junior Austin Neu and sophomore Alex Delebreau.
Junoir tight-end and captain Ryan Moertel says that he feels the quaterbacks are doing well.
"They're coming along good," Moertel said. "Both guys have been working really hard during camp."
Another battle is for tailback, and it's between junior Matt Olson, freshmen Joel Sweeney, junior Matt Jaskowiak and junior Connor Meloy.
Besides discussing the team, Moertel and Mattek also spoke of their personal goals for the season.
Moertel is striving to be All-Conference at tight-end like past tight-ends from Eau Claire, and as captain he wants to help out the team so it can be as good as it possibly can.
Moertel also said what he does to help achieve his goals.
"I run with the receivers and lift with the centers."
Mattek said that he wants to be a good team player and that he really has focused on the basics during training camp.
It's a good thing that the team is improving because Coach Glaser said that all the games will be tough, not just against defending National Champion UW- Whitewater. He added that even the non-conference games will be tougher this year.
Glaser knows that the competition will be fierce this season, but he stressed that it's important not to overthink the season.
"We've just been getting ready for Bethel," Glaser said. "Our theme this year is taking one play at a time, one quarter at a time … and one game at a time."
The Blugold's first game is this Saturday against Bethel University (Tenn.), at 7 p.m. at Carson Park.
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