Bell, Verlander highlight Media Day
Coach Kerwin Bell gave an upbeat assessment of the 2011 Jacksonville University football team and Director of Athletics gave a football stadium update to highlight Media Day Tuesday.

Bell, in his fifth year, said his team “practices with a purpose’’ each day and recognizes it has the toughest schedule in the school’s history upcoming.

“We don’t want to revert back to 2009,’’ he said. It was that year the team slid at the end of the season and missed out on a chance at a Pioneer Football League title.

He lauded the team’s seniors, who will leave school as the winningest class in history and said he is “disappointed’’ more area fans don’t come out to see the team as it knocks on the door to national prominence.

“There are great fans in Jacksonville and they should realize that we have some great talent here,’’ he said. The Dolphins were 10-1 last season and shared the PFL title with Dayton.

Velander told the media the economy has changed the strategy on renovating the stadium, estimated to be about $4 million.

He said instead of trying to raise a lump sum, the school is talking to individual companies about a variety of in-kind work for the renovation.

Verlander also lauded the efforts of the football team noting that not too long ago few heard of a JU football team and last year the school was “last man out’’ for the playoffs.

Seven players: Josh McGregor, Josh Philpart, J.J. Laster, Chad Cypher, Roland Fines, Lacy McDougald and Leonard Smith all attended and met with both print and electronic media at the Crowne Plaza.

The Dolphins have a scrimmage set for Saturday at The Bolles School at 6 p.m. and the first game is Sept. 3 at The Citadel.