The Mercer University football team is less than a year away from beginning their season after a 70 year hiatus.
The players are already working hard every morning to get in shape for official football practice. The new Tony and Nancy Moye Family Football and Lacrosse Complex turf field is withstanding the pressure of over 100 dedicated young men who wake up for conditioning by 7:30 a.m. every morning.
Although conditioning starts very early, many players are glad that Macon is cool enough in the morning to do strenuous activity without risking heat-induced health problems.
Several members of the football team are anxious to head into team practice within the next few months.
“Right now we’re just conditioning and getting ready for regular practice,” explains freshman Chase Orr, a member of Mercer’s defensive line.
“Hopefully we’ll be getting into the new football complex and practicing in shoulder pads soon,” says freshman offensive lineman, Matt Chastain.
“Conditioning is tough, but we might as well grind through it. Coaches are pushing us, but it’s good,” mentioned fellow freshman outside linebacker, Tosin Aguebor.
Many of the players support their coaches and embrace the challenges given to them.
“The coaches push us hard, but they only ask for the best out of us,” says Kirby Southard, a freshman center.
The Bears recently hosted the first ever “Meet the Bears” event on Sept. 6, during which the players and coaches allowed fans the opportunity to meet them, receive autographs, view the season schedule and lay eyes on the new uniforms.
The field and the Homer and Ruth Drake Field House was abuzz with a multitude of fans exploring Mercer University’s newest additions.
While the stadium seats are not finished yet, the Drake Field House was open for community members, students, faculty and staff to tour for the first time.The tour included an inside look at the Bears’ newly designed locker rooms.
During the “Meet the Bears” event, the audience heard from both Football Head Coach Bobby Lamb and President Underwood, who made a number of exciting announcements.
Coach Lamb commended the 104 eager football players while President Underwood spoke of the progress of the stadium.
“The Tony and Nancy Moye Family Football and Lacrosse Complex will be the nicest facility in the state of Georgia. Not the largest, but the nicest,” said President Underwood.
He later went on to confirm what many have suspected: the football stadium will be expanded to accommodate more fans.
The current capacity of the stadium will hold about 6,000 people. In a year, the stadium will be expanded to seat about 10,200 fans.
The planned expansion of the stadium is partly due the the fact that even though ticket sales have not been advertised, over 2,500 season tickets have been sold.
The excitement of the upcoming football season continues to build as the Bears plan to host an “Orange versus Black” scrimmage to allow for a festive homecoming celebration in November.
While we get to see the Bears in action, the actual season is set to begin next August. Until then, Mercer continues to support and help prepare the hard working team that has been undefeated since 1942.