Experience on EU’s side as 2018 football season begins

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 at 5:19 PM

Edinboro football is poised to make some noise in its 2018 campaign. Last year, the Fighting Scots posted a 7-4 overall record with a 4-3 conference mark.

Head Coach Wayne Bradford enters his second year as head coach and 20th with the team. He will look to improve on last season’s success after the school dropped his interim tag during the offseason.

“We’re in year three of our system, so we feel we are going to be better and better in executing our system. We have plenty of talent and plenty of experience at the skill positions,” Bradford said.

That offensive system is a fast-paced, no-huddle offense that is popular among many teams in the NCAA right now. The offense, by design, is meant to wear out defenses, limiting or making substitutions more difficult. In the past two seasons, Edinboro was able to move the ball across the length of the field in mere minutes. The offense also had the ability to eat the clock with their run game.

A lot of experience returns this year for the Fighting Scots. Their offensive and defensives lines all have returning upperclassmen. One notable returnee among skill positions is running back Walter Fletcher, who finished second in NCAA Division II football in rushing yards.

Offensive Coordinator Chris Limbach said, “We have a veteran group of guys, which means we can install quickly and then come up with new and unique ways to get our guys the ball, which always makes things fun.”

On the other side of the ball, the Fighting Scots return a bunch of starters from last year. In 2017, the defense had 30 takeaways, which led the nation, and they’ll look to improve upon that number in the upcoming season.

“Just speaking about our defensive backs, I’m being a little biased because they are on the defensive side of the ball, but I believe they are our best group on the football team,” Defensive Coordinator Colin Neely said.

In the 2018 PSAC Coaches Preseason Poll, Edinboro was ranked fourth in the western division behind Indiana (Pa.), California (Pa.) and Slippery Rock, who were ranked first, second and third, respectively. Edinboro is the highest ranked school in Erie County, with Gannon and Mercyhurst ranked fifth and sixth, respectively.

Edinboro was ranked as high as 18th in national polls, as well. They received that honor in Lindy’s Division II Preseason Top 25. They were also ranked in the top 20 in Street and Smith’s preseason rankings and were among the “others receiving votes” in the American Football Coaches Association Division II Preseason Top 25 poll.

Edinboro opened its season on the road at Lake Erie College on Saturday (and registered a 69-0 win) and will travel to Bloomsburg University for their second game of the season on Saturday. Their home opener will take place against East Stroudsburg on Sept. 15.
On Edinboro football days, Bradford said, “We have great support from our university, from the Edinboro community, and we have a great group of parents who travel everywhere, so it truly is an event.”

George Schmidt can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com.

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