Fall 2015 Football Preview

Panthers to play 3 ESPN3 games this season, including homecoming.

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It’s Saturday night, the fans are cheering, the Pep Band is beating their drums, and the Panthers are sprinting onto the turf. Can you picture yourself there? Well, Florida Tech football season is right on our doorsteps. In three short weeks, the Panthers will take the field for the first time in newly renamed Florida Tech Panther Stadium.

In its second year, the program exceeded many people’s expectations. Not only was the team above .500, but they beat #12 Tarleton State in Cowboys Stadium as else as blowing out Division 1 opponent Stetson and losing to Division 1 opponent Bethune­Cookman in the final minutes of the game.

The success the team saw led to home game attendance among the tops in the league.

“We have a great crowd and support system here. Brevard County has been great. I would love it to be tradition for every student here to come together and tailgate, have some fun and then go over to our 7 p.m. starts,” Head Football Coach Steve Englehart said.

During the season, tailgating will start at three hours before kickoff on campus. Tailgaters will be permitted to have alcohol and grill on designated areas on campus.

The highlight of the tailgating scene is the Panther Prowl, which occurs at every home game two hours and 45 minutes before kickoff, from the SUB to the VTC.

For the 2015 season, the team will play all home games at 7 p.m., besides the one exception being the homecoming game on Nov. 7.

“With a 7 p.m. start now, hopefully more students will want to come out because they can do what they want and hang out during the day, and then come to the game at seven,” Englehart said.

This season, the team will also have three games on ESPN3, including the homecoming game in November. The other two are against top conference­ranked opponents, North Alabama and Delta State.

“Those are really big games,” Coach Englehart said of the ESPN3 games. “We’re talking about three of the top teams in the conference from last year.”

While many freshmen and new students come from the United States, many students don’t know a lot about football.

The team will host Football 101 again this year to teach foreign students the game and allow them to meet the players. Coach Englehart believes that knowing the players is half the battle.

“Having a connection with the players is what makes students want to come out and support them because they know them as a person,” Englehart said. “We’ve got to get them there because I believe the environment will get [students] hooked.”

With the start of the semester around the corner, Coach Englehart gave this advice to students: “Get involved! You can’t spend your entire time studying and going to class. That’s a big part of college, but get involved in other things and enjoy the college experience.”