After a year, football ready to compete

After a year, football ready to compete
Photo Credit: Mercer Athletics

On Wednesday, July 31, the Mercer football team reported for preseason camp for the first time in 70 years. After a full year of practice and no competition, the Bears are looking forward to their first game on Aug. 31.

“There’s a sense of excitement and urgency on both sides, coaches and players, to get to this game because it’s a pretty long year of just practice,” said Mercer football head coach Bobby Lamb.

Lamb also explained that he is impressed with the players coming back from last year and how they’ve developed as leaders on the field.

“Even though they’re redshirt freshmen, we call them upperclassmen. They’ve been through our program for over a year, and I’m starting to sense that we do have leaders in the group,” said Lamb.

This season, the Bears will be competing in the 12-team Pioneer Football League. In the 2013 Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the Mercer football team was picked to finish 11th, one spot ahead of Stetson, another start-up program, and just 12 points behind Valparaiso for the No. 10 spot.

Although wins are important to this competitive squad, Lamb explained that the wins and losses aren’t the main focus this season. With a team full of freshmen and sophomores, Lamb realizes that it is going to be very difficult to match up against other teams with more experienced players, but that will not prevent them from having what he considers a successful season.

“This year is a foundation year,” said Lamb. “We’re going to develop a foundation that we can build on for years to come. The wins are going to come down the road once we get the foundation established.”

Fans as well as players are eager for the season to start. Season tickets sales eclipsed 5,000 and single game tickets sold out in 27 minutes for the Bears season-opener.

Many fans came out to the Meet the Bears event held on Aug. 2 in front of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. Macon residents and Mercer University students could meet and get autographs from the members of the football team and Coach Lamb.

Eight-year-old Sam Whitely said that he is so excited about the season, that he and his brother attended a practice.

“It was really fun,” said Sam. “It was like a mini game.”

The Bears play their first game against Reinhardt on Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. at the Moye Family Football Complex.

— Editor Emily Farlow contributed to this report.

 

Mercer’s football scrimmage Watch the video now!