The Cardinals are slated to open their season Saturday, Sept. 7, at Texas A&M, Kingsville.
Last year, the overall record was 8-3.
They will start the season ranked 4th in the GLIAC preseason poll and with a new coach. Ryan Brady was named head coach in March, following former coach Jim Collins’ departure for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Brady came to the Cardinals from Ferris State University, where he served as codefensive coordinator for the Bulldogs.
“The transition’s been great,” Brady said. “Summer has been very busy. The team’s got a lot of energy, and we’ve been building great relationships along the way, amongst ourselves and with young people. We’ve been focused on winning the day, every day.”
The team has set big goals for the upcoming year. They will strive for a league and national championship. To achieve these goals, Brady is focusing on helping players see their true potential.
“The biggest challenge we face is them believing they’re as good as I think they can be,” Brady said. “My job is to make sure they know they can be the best.”
There were 70 players who chose to remain on campus for summer training, with 47 of those being junior and senior veterans. Their experience will help to lead their younger teammates on the field.
Standout players on the defensive line include David Still, Patrik Moriarty and Heath Williams, all of whom earned allGLIAC honors last season. Chad Gailliard and H. Williams earned All-American honors following the 2018 season.
Offensively, quarterback Ryan Conklin, running back Nate McCrary and wide receivers Gailliard and Casey Williams are names Brady said to watch for during gameplay.
Gailliard, a junior, believes the preparation done over the summer will prove to be beneficial.
“This summer, we were able to keep taking those necessary steps to continue to elevate our game both individually and as a team,” he said. “At camp, we did excellent team-building exercises and have a retreat planned in order to continue to bond with each other. Hopefully, it’s strong enough to translate onto the field, as well.”
According to Conklin, a senior, the hard work from Brady and his team has impacted the players positively.
“As a whole, our team has responded to our new head coach along with his staff tremendously,” he said. “The guys on this team have a new level of confidence that we haven’t had before.”
Confidence and unity are two components Conklin hopes will impact the team’s performance this year.
“Our strength will be our toughness both physically and mentally and our ability to overcome things that will put other teams down,” Conklin said. “We’re prepared to fight each and every day not for ourselves, but for the guys next to us.”
The first home game will be Saturday, Sept. 14, at 1 p.m. against Tiffin University.