Summer is over and the new school year is underway, which means the Slippery Rock University football team is about to kick off another season.
There’s a different feeling surrounding the team this year because the Rock will open up the 2012 season as defending Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West champions.
But despite the success of last season, The Rock was selected to finish third in the Preseason PSAC-West poll behind California University of Pennsylvania and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
SRU head coach George Mihalik will be entering his 25th season as head coach for the Rock.
“I will probably be more excited than any other fan this year to see what kind of team we have,” Mihalik said about the upcoming season. “Mainly because of there being so many new players.”
The Rock offense will be led by red-shirt senior running back Akeem Satterfield. With the departure of quarterback Cody Endres and receiver Devin Goda, Satterfield will enter the year with higher expectations placed upon him than previous years.
“His productivity the last two years speaks for itself,” Mihalik said. “He’s had his best preseason camp so far in his career I think. He’s our most seasoned veteran at the skill position and our most productive returning skill position player. You have to expect big things from him.”
Satterfield missed four games last year due to a lingering leg injury. A repeat of last year’s missed games is something he is looking to avoid. Coming into the season, Satterfield has set high expectations on himself.
“I’m trying to break the single season rushing record for yards and touchdowns,” Satterfield said. “They have not been broken since they were set.”
Taking over for Endres at quarterback, will be redshirt sophomore Jared Buck. He will be entering his first year as a starter for the Rock.
“What I like about Jared is he’s a student of the game,” Mihalik said. “He watches a lot of film and really wants to know the offense inside and out. I believe he will have good control of the offense and the tempo of the game.”
An even tougher task for The Rock offense will be filling the void at receiver left behind by Goda. Taking on the challenge will be junior John Schademan, junior Michael Bongivengo, senior tight end Josh Gardener, junior Robert Joyce, sophomore Ken Amos, and junior LaQuinn Stephens-Howling, who will be switching from running back to receiver.
Paving the way for Satterfield and company, will be an offensive line led by senior Austin Fedell, who was named to the USA Football News Division II Pre-Season All American team. Joining Fedell will be redshirt sophomores guards Kirk Nypaver and Bill Whitaker.
The Rock will take on Shippensburg University next Saturday.