The number of players that have reported to the Marietta College football team is high, as are the team's expectations.
"We certainly brought in a big number of guys," said MC head coach Jeff Filkovski. "I think we reported 130 guys, so that's about 20 to 30 more than my first couple of years."
Filkovski credited the recent renovations to Don Drumm Stadium for the increase.
Times file photo
Marietta College’s Kirby Harris (18), right, figures to receive double coverage again from football teams in the OAC. He is one of the best in the league.
"Our staff has done a good job, and we're fortunate to have a facility like this," Filkovski said. "It's been a lot of work, but we've got a great school and a great facility to attract young guys to come in here and play football."
There is an optimism at practices, and players and coaches are excited to be back on the field.
"Right now we're just trying to put the pieces together," the coach continued. "We finally got a chance to put on shoulder pads, so it kind of feels a little more like football."
Filkovski said when the team has one-a-day practices, they try to do it in the morning to avoid the heat. Right now, the Pioneers are still in the beginning stages of practicing.
"Now it's position identification, special teams identification, and seeing who can do what," Filkovski said. "It's a healthy group of guys. There is a lot of promise out there with the younger guys, and the older guys are diving right back in."
Filkovski said that everyone is coming along, but mentioned the receiving corps as a position that has stood out.
"If you look at what we return in Kirby Harris, Tannon Roberts, Sean Munfield, Linard Williams, and Charles Dixon, that's five guys returning who are pretty darn good," Filkovski said.
Senior Tom Fulton will be stepping in at quarterback for four-year starter Andrew Keller.
"We're really meshing well for our third day of practice," Fulton said. "The new guys are stepping in and doing well."
"Tom is the trigger man right now," Filkovski said. "We're trying to find a backup. There's really competition at every position to try and find the next guy."
With around 80 new players, including freshmen and transfers, Filkovski said the new guys are meshing well with the veterans.
"They're doing their part," Filkovski said. "We're trying to keep them engaged and ready to step in when they're needed. We want to keep them involved and feeling like they are part of something special."