Team morale is high for the Drake Bulldogs rushing into the 2017 football season. Last season, the Bulldogs finished 7-4 overall (6-2 in the Pioneer Football League). Dayton and San Diego were the team’s only two conference losses.

Last season was an extraordinary season for the Bulldogs. They won two more games than in the 2015 season (5-6) and senior tight end Eric Saubert was drafted to the NFL by the Atlanta Falcons with the 174th pick in the fifth round of the 2017 draft. Saubert stands tall at 6 feet 5 inches and comes from Chicago, Illinois.

The Bulldogs will be missing their number one offensive weapon from last year, but do not plan on letting up off the gas. Alex Bray, the lone sophomore quarterback on the team this year, had redshirted his freshman season, therefore making him ineligible for gameplay. This season, Alex is the team’s QB3 (third string quarterback).

 

What do the Players Think?

Bray had plenty to say about the team and the confidence levels of his teammates at practice so far this offseason. When asked how the team would fare this year, “I think we have the potential to win the PFL,” was Bray’s response. Bray later elaborated on the team’s strengths citing the Bulldogs young, but talented receiving core something to watch out for as well as the defensive line led by fifth year, Mack Marrin.

Mack Marrin has been disrupting quarterbacks for the last three seasons. Despite battling through an injury all last season, Marrin still managed to receive All-PFL honorable mention honors. Two seasons ago, a healthy Marrin, was the teams’ leader in sacks at eight and a half (godrakebulldogs.com). Members of the team expressed their excitement for Marrin’s final year on the team, playing at full health.

John “JJ” Clark is in a similar boat as Bray having redshirted last season as a freshman. Clark is a linebacker for the Bulldogs entering his first year of eligibility to play. The linebacker comes from Clarinda, Iowa.

“Can’t wait to play San Diego and Dayton for sure! They both beat us and went ahead of us last year,” Clark said when asked who he was most excited to play this season. The team lost only four games last year and have high expectations for this upcoming season. Only those two teams had been conference losses.

Both Bray and Clark were asked who they were most excited to see play this year on the team, and produced the same answer. The quarterback and linebacker were reluctant to mention Mitch McFarlane as a focal point of the offense this year at wide receiver. “Number 22, Mitch McFarlane,” other members of the team chimed in.

The Drake University Bulldogs football team is looking to have a fantastic 2017 season, improving from last season and perhaps winning the PFL. With a strong defensive line and an offense led by the returning quarterback in Grant Kraemer, the Bulldogs appear to be confident in the work they have put in this offseason and headed into the regular season.

 

Word Count: 505

alexander.bray@drake.edu, Alex Bray

john.clark@drake.edu, JJ Clark

 

 

 

 

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