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Drake football prepares for season, sets higher expectations

The Drake football team has put a focus on improving their offense after numerous underwhelming performances in 2022, but their dominant defense remains a staple of former defensive and current coach Stepsis' game plan. Photo courtesy of Carson Culp.

With their 2023 season creeping up faster than ever, the Drake football team is counting down the hours until its reign over the end zone begins.   

With the team having been on campus since July 6, head coach Todd Stepsis has been pushing the players on and off the field to grow both as individuals and as a team. 

With their season opener at North Dakota State University on Sept. 2 only days away, morale and excitement is through the roof.  

“I’m feeling great and very confident in my ability to help the team. We’ve been making strides on both sides of the ball throughout camp, and we are continuing to build off of the three-game win streak to finish last season,” senior quarterback Luke Bailey said. “The confidence has been through the roof and a lot of guys are looking forward to that first game in Grand Forks. A strong point of our team has always been our defense, but our offense has been looking very explosive and I know we are capable of scoring a lot of points.”  

Although the 2022 season may not have gone quite as planned for the Bulldogs en route to a 3-8 overall record; the team was able to pull off a three-game win streak at the end of its run against Stetson, Butler and Valparaiso that showcased a glimpse of what the roster was truly capable of. 

With newfound confidence in the offseason, the team is looking forward to what the first game of the season will have in store for them. All of the players have been working hard to build both their chemistry and communication in preparation for what could be a historic game for Drake. With last year’s betting odds set at +48 against the spread (historically low odds of a win), even a competitive stand by the Bulldogs this year would set expectations at an all-time high.

“This past offseason we made a lot of changes in our scheme and put a lot of work in behind the scenes with our training,” returning sophomore offensive lineman Duke Frye said. “Throughout camp so far, this team looks and feels completely different, and I think we are going to continue the success we had at the end of last year into this year.” 

It is only a matter of time until the Bulldogs get their chance to earn the respect of the Missouri Valley Conference. With all sides of their game set up for success, there is no telling what the 2023 Bulldog pack is going to accomplish. 

The team will be kicking off its season against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks on Sept. 2 at 4 p.m. in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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