Aug. 26, 2007
95th Season Of Football Set To Begin
Northern Colorado begins its 95th season of college football Saturday when the Bears take on
The game marks the start of
This will be the first-ever meeting between
Not Exactly A Walk In The Park
The game at
It's Been A While
For the first time since 1986
In a vote by the players,
The Bears return half of their starters from a year ago, returning seven offensive, six defensive and one specialist from the 2006 season.
The team also returns 61 percent of its tackles from last season, including leading tackler, junior linebacker Cristian Sarmento who notched 81 total tackles a year ago with 5.5 tackles for loss.
Trying For Two
Junior defensive back Trey Keene is a rarity among Division I student-athletes in that he is playing two sports for the Bears.
Senior wide receiver Andy Birkel returns to the lineup after missing the entire 2006 season with a knee injury. In 2005, the
In the first two games of the year, the Bears look to defend against some of the best players in their respective divisions. In
Proud To Wear Pink
The home opener against
There are 90 players on the 2007 roster and 70 of them attended high school in
Senior punter Rafael Mendoza enters the season ranked sixth on the school's career records list with an average of 39.4 yards per kick... Aaron Henderson is just out of the top 10 in several career categories, including punt return yards (24 ret, 245 yards), kickoff return yards (24, 437) and pass interceptions (eight)... Andy Birkel is currently tied for 12th in school history with 10 receiving touchdowns... Vinny Pallone has played and started in all 22 games of his career, the only senior to play and start in every game of his career (with multiple seasons at
New Season Features New Coaches
During the off season, head coach Scott Downing added five new coaches to his staff. Dan Daniel, Dennis Darnell, Pete Darnell, Jordan Fenner and Kendrick Shaver all joined the Bears as coaches, while Justin Jantz was added to the team as the director of football operations.
Daniel will serve as a defensive assistant coach. He most recently spent time as the defensive coordinator of the Hamburg Sea Devils, which won the World Bowl over Frankfurt in the NFL Europe Championship.
Dennis Darnell was named the team's offensive coordinator and brings over 20 years of coaching experience to the table, including head coaching stints at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma and Missouri Western State and Republic High School and Sullivan High School, both in Missouri.
Pete Darnell will handle the quarterback coaching duties for the Bears. He joins the staff from Tarleton State, where he coached the wide receivers for six months.
Fenner is in charge of the wide receivers and spent last season at Southern Oregon University, where he worked primarily with the tight ends and special teams.
Shaver will be responsible for the secondary after handling the same duties last year at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. He also was the recruiting coordinator and monitored the academics at Northeastern.
Scouting The Hawai'i Warriors
Hawai'i enters the season ranked 23rd in the AP poll and 24th in the USA Today Preseason poll and the favorite to win the Western Athletic Conference title this year. In 2006, the Warriors were 11-1 and winners of the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl.
Hawai'i returns 15 starters from last year's team with six offensive, eight defensive and one specialist coming back. The Warriors traditionally utilize a Run-and-Shoot offensive formation and a 4-3 defensive formation under head coach June Jones.
Those six offensive returning starters helped lead Hawai'i to the number one ranked offense in college football a year ago and senior quarterback Colt Brennan led the nation in seven statistical categories and broke 18 NCAA records in 2006.
On defense, the Warriors return eight from last season's team which held opponents to 24.1 points per game.
Hawai'i Head Coach June Jones
June Jones enters his ninth season with the Warriors sporting a career record of 64-40. He is the 20th coach in Hawai'i history and his teams have been ranked in the top five in the nation in passing offense each season. In his first eight years with UH, the team has advanced to five games and he has coached 10 All-Americans.
He also led the 1999 Warriors to the WAC co-champion and he was named the National Football Coach of the Year by CNN/Sports Illustrated that season. He has had 16 NFL draft picks, broken 380 school records and 45 NCAA records and mentored 56 all-WAC performers.
The Hawai'i Connection
Northern Colorado offensive coordinator Dennis Darnell has a close connection with Hawai'i offensive line coach Dennis McKnight. McKnight played for Darnell at Drake University and then the pair coached together at Southeast Missouri State in 1981.
NC redshirt freshman Andrew Dunkley also played high school football at Long Beach Poly with Hawai'i senior offensive lineman Hercules Satele. Dunkley was a freshman at Poly during Satele's senior season.
2007 Hawai'i Schedule
Sept. 1 NORTHERN COLORADO 6:05 p.m.
Sept. 8 at Louisiana Tech * 6:05 p.m.
Sept. 15 at UNLV 6:35 p.m.
Sept. 22 CHARLESTON SOUTHERN 6:05 p.m.
Sept. 29 at
Oct. 12 at
Nov. 16 at
* denotes WAC game; All times local to site
Fountain Of Youth
True Freshmen: 24
Redshirt Freshmen: 19
Hitting The Books
Senior defensive back Aaron Henderson has already received his undergraduate degree from the
All In The Family
The Bears sport two pair of brothers currently on the roster in Matt (Fr-LB) and Mike (Jr-QB) Vlahogeorge, and Justin (So-RB) and Korey (So-DB) Askew but there are several other members of the team who had brothers on previous year's teams. Senior linebacker Asa Matthew's brother Adam played for the Bears from 1999-2003, while senior nose guard Vinny Pallone's brother Dominic played for the Bears from 1996-00.