On Oct. 30, the Drake football team held their last practice of the fall training season. Because no games were played this fall, a team scrimmage was held in place of practice.
The scrimmage was designed as the offense playing against the defense. The coaches subbed in players so that one set of defense would play against one set of offense, and then they would switch so each group would play each other. No score was kept during the event.
Nolan Engmann, a first-year defensive lineman, enjoyed the chance to bond with his teammate after a frustrating season.
“It was fun to actually play football and it has been a long time for me to actually play in our Drake uniforms,” Engmann said. “There were a lot of low points with the season being cancelled and us losing that valuable time, but being able to practice this fall has been huge as a team and we have had a lot of fun.”
Drake football plays in the Pioneer Football League, which cancelled the fall season in August due to complications with COVID-19. The NCAA allowed the team to hold 15 practices this semester, with Nov. 30 being the last one.
“Overall the team looks really good,” said sophomore quarterback Ian Corwin. “The defense has been playing really well throughout all of our practices and the offense really started clicking over these last two weeks.”
The team has been preparing all throughout the fall semester in hopes there might be a spring season. No public announcements have been made by the PFL or NCAA regarding a spring season, but the Bulldogs plan to be prepared for whatever comes their way.
“We’re just hoping we’ll get the chance to play,” Corwin said. “A lot of this stuff is out of our control, so we’re focused on being prepared for whenever our next chance to play comes.”
Head Coach Todd Stepsis has been leading practices and team meetings throughout the semester. One of his priorities is to help the team in any way to be able to play through the current conditions.
“It’s a pretty positive and resilient group,” Stepsis said. “Even though they were disappointed about us not playing, they were excited about the opportunity to get better at their sport and to mold our new team.”
Coach Stepsis is excited about the talent for the upcoming season.
“I love our running backs right now on offense,” Stepsis said. “We have some depth and experience on defense. We’re in a good spot but the next four months are very important.”
COVID-19 guidelines put in place by athletic administration have been followed throughout the semester and scrimmage. This included daily screenings and temperature monitoring along with masks being worn whenever appropriate.
For information and updates on the team, visit godrakebulldogs.com/football.