FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Northern Arizona football opened up fall camp 2014 at the Walkup Skydome this afternoon. The Lumberjacks are coming off a 9-3 record and a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Playoff appearance. NAU finished second in the Big Sky a year ago, and have been voted No. 25 in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Coaches Poll released Monday.
"I think there's a general excitement out of everybody, the coaches, the players, alike," said head coach Jerome Souers. "It's been a great offseason so far leading up to camp. I'm really pleased with our teams conditioning. They've done the things that they needed to. We have a lot of new faces. There's a lot of enthusiasm. Everything is work in progress, but I'm excited about it."
Replacing The Franchise: For the first time in four years, Northern Arizona enters its season without the quick feet of running back Zach Bauman. The Chandler, Ariz. native has graduated and taken his talents to the NFL with a current spot on the Arizona Cardinals roster. Stepping into the position will be junior Casey Jahn, and backup redshirt freshman Corbin Jountti. The Lumberjacks also have freshmen Tyler Brown and Marquice Paige that will fight for reps during preseason.
"The big thing is that Zach (Bauman) set a standard of play for us, and Casey (Jahn) is following suit," said running backs coach Jimmy Beal. "He has taken the leadership role and is setting an example for the young guys. Casey is ready to take that next stop, but the younger guys are also there pushing him each day."
Dynamic Defense: NAU returns three starters on defense from a year ago - the same defense that led the FCS in 2014 in defensive touchdowns. Leading the way is senior linebacker Austin Hasquet, who had a team-high 91 tackles and a pair of interceptions. The secondary will call upon junior cornerback Marcus Alford to take the reins of the group. Junior Zach McDonnell is the lone returning starter on the line for the Lumberjacks, giving NAU a void to fill up front.
"This week we need to take ownership and show great effort, on-and-off the field," said defensive coordinator Andy Thompson. "We have a lot of new faces, but we also have guys that have been in the program for some time. I was very pleased with the excitement and effort shown today."
This Week's Football Fall Camp Schedule
August 5 – 4pm
August 6 – 4pm
August 7 – 4pm
August 8 – 4 pm
August 9 – 2:30pm (scrimmage)
August 10 – Off