Leadership is what Terry Bowden is seeking from some of the players on the Zips roster.
He’s getting it from the likeliest and unlikeliest places.
Normally the quarterback is supposed to be a de facto leader, and more and more at practice Dalton Williams plays that role on the offense. That in itself is no surprise given his age and the position. Why it is, however, is the short amount of time (six months) that Williams has been around his teammates.
Given his four years as a backup at Stephen F. Austin, there’s every reason to believe that Williams is sensing an opportunity he didn’t get playing bridesmaid to an award-winning signal caller at his former college.
If time were used as a metric, it doesn’t explain why linebacker Kurt Mangum, another transfer who arrived in July, has played his part as a leader. It’s not difficult to see – especially during day three’s on-the-field extracurricular activities when helmets were flying off and punches were being thrown on several occasions.
Williams and Mangum view this as a possible final shot for them and are treating it as all business. They want to win and they want to win now.
That type of attitude can be infectious and while thinking the Zips will make some fantastic leap in just one year is realistic, laying the foundation with respect to attitude certainly can help.
Witness linebacker Troy Gilmer, one of the true vets on this team. A senior, Gilmer was very vocal in expressing his pleasure at the tussles going on Monday and implored his teammates to get back to work all while reminding them that fighting one another does the team little good. That’s what Bowden and his staff needs to hear. The Zips need to keep the intensity and focus it on their opponents.
Clarification: I’ve been asked whether Green’s Andrew Pratt has a legit shot at some playing time. Coach Bowden said point blank that Jerrod Dillard, a junior wide receiver, needs someone to challenge him. Although he was good in practice yesterday, Pratt was better, including making tough catch in the corner of the end zone for a score. Can he see the field this year?
Yes. Given the team’s record the past two years, the best players will play regardless of class. If that’s a bunch of vets, so be it. But if it’s a significant number of first or second-year players, what is there to lose? Nothing. What is there to gain? Players with experience who can mature and grow. It’s a no-brainer.
Single-game ticket sales: Single-game tickets for the 2012 season for Zips football, men's and women's soccer, and volleyball are scheduled to go on sale today at 10 a.m. ET.
Fans can purchase tickets online anytime at ZipsTickets.com, or from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays by either calling 888-992-5766) or visiting The C.P. and Cornelia S. Chima Athletics Ticket Office at InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field (located at 375 E. Exchange Street, near Gate 1 at the southwest corner of the venue, at the corner of E. Exchange and S. Union streets).
Tickets for the football season, in which the Zips have six home games for year one of "Bowden Ball" with new head coach Terry Bowden, start at $15 for General Admission, are $20 for Reserved Seats, $40 for Priority Reserved and $50 for the Single-Game Family Plan (General Admission for two adults and two children). Club Seats are available for $100. The season begins at home on Thursday, Aug. 30 when UA plays host to Central Florida at 7 p.m. at InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field.
The men's soccer team plays host to exhibition matches on Wednesday, Aug. 15 and Friday, Aug. 17 versus Saint Louis and Wright State, respectively (both at 7:30 p.m.), at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field and opens its regular season at home on Friday, Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m. versus Florida Gulf Coast. Tickets start at $10 for General Admission, while Reserved Seats in the west bleachers are $15. The Single-Game Family Plan is $30 (General Admission seating).