The 2007 campaign had a sour taste for the JU football team.
The Dolphins will start a clean slate on Saturday as they open the 2008 season at Savannah State. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. The game will be broadcast locally on 1010XL, with Barry Milligan calling the play-by-play.
“We’re ready to go,” said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. “We had a great camp and a good week of prep for Savannah State. We were disappointed with how we finished last year and it’s good to finally get back onto the field to kickoff a new season.”
Getting his first start at quarterback will be sophomore Erik Stepelton. The backup to Chris Horton a year ago, Stepelton won the starting job in the spring and has fared well during fall camp.
While only seeing action in six games, he threw for nearly 700 yards and three touchdowns with just one interception.
“Erik has stepped up throughout camp and is our starter,” Bell said. “He has a great grasp of the offense and gets the ball out quickly, which is imperative in our offense.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the emphasis was on creating turnovers and getting the ball back as soon as possible.
Second year defensive coordinator Ron McCrone has implemented a ball-hawking approach this season, which has shown in all three of JU’s preseason scrimmages.
Aiding the effort is the return of a talented and experienced secondary. Senior cornerback Robson Noel anchors one side with junior free safety Jason Wood expected to be a major contributor as well.
“We have a lot of speed on defense this year,” Bell said. “Coach McCrone and his staff have done a great job of getting our guys ready to make big plays and create turnovers.”