Butler University football team in a huddle. Collegian file photo.
ERIC ROBINSON | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Butler football team will use their veteran leaders to build from a winning 2015 season in hopes for a 2016 Pioneer Football League (PFL) Championship.
Head Coach Jeff Voris said he likes how the veteran players have stepped into their roles on the team.
“They have done a great job leadership-wise with the young guys teaching not just scheme but culture and really developing a great locker room,” Voris said.
Redshirt senior defensive lineman Jordan Ransome said being there for some of the younger guys helps build that team atmosphere.
“It’s a tough transition as a freshman coming in,” Ransome said. “Any way that you can help them out just helps to show that good leadership.”
He, along with fellow redshirt seniors linebacker Sean Horan and offensive lineman Michael Demos, were named team captains. Horan said being named a captain is something he does not take lightly.
“It’s a really high honor,” Horan said. “It’s a blessing to be voted by your teammates. I think great leaders make leaders of other people, so that’s what being a captain means to me. [It’s] not only to lead my fellow teammates but also to empower them to not be afraid to lead and step up.”
Demos said there are other people on the team besides the captains giving the team a veteran presence.
“It’s not just us,” he said. “Just because we have that captain title, there’s plenty of other seniors that are in leadership roles that do just as good a job as we do.”
After going 6-5 last year, Voris said he is happy with where the team is at and how deep they are becoming on all sides of the football.
“We’ve really started to build some depth in all three phases,” Voris said, “When you have some veteran guys back like we do, those things come along quicker.”
Ransome said there good depth on this team, and the defense has come out with a good amount of energy.
“I see a lot of guys flying around wanting to make plays,” he said. “Our enthusiasm has been good and that’s really big for us.”
On offense, Demos said the unit is extremely close, which should translate to positive results on the field.
“We’ve definitely developed a lot of chemistry,” Demos said. “We make mistakes here and there, but as soon as we can clean the little things up, I think we’ll be moving.”
Horan said it helps the team to remember that at the end of the day, it is just a game.
“Not only do we attack the game with a vicious mentality, but we like having fun out there,” Horan said. “We realize we’re playing a game. We’re taking it serious, but at the same time we’re doing what we love.”
Voris said his goals for the season do not come with numerical value, but with growth as a team.
“We believe the scoreboard is going to take care of itself,” he said. “For us, if we’re better tomorrow than we are today it’s a successful season.”
The players, on the other hand have their own goal in mind: winning the PFL Championship.
“As long as we take it one day at a time, one practice at a time, one weight room session at a time, one game at a time, at the end of the year I think we’ll be happy with the way the season turns out,” Demos said. “Just have to keep working, keep our eye on the prize, and it should be a good year.”
The Bulldogs will begin their season on Saturday when they travel to play the Indiana State University Sycamores. Coach Voris said he sees this game as a chance to see where the team is at as a whole.
“It’s important for us because it’s the first one, and it sets the tone,” he said. “It’s extremely important to not only get off to a great start but also see the level of play we have to play at to be able to compete and have success.”
Ransome said to have success against the Sycamores, they will have to use the energy they have right out of the gate.
“I just think we need to come out fast and kind of punch them in the mouth,” he said. “They’re a big physical team so we just have to start off fast and strong from the very beginning.”
The opening kickoff is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m. in Terre Haute.