Football ready for home opener

Sept. 21, 2007

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - While the rain continues to descend upon the First Coast, the Jacksonville football team has been able to dodge the raindrops in the afternoons as they prep for Saturday's home opener against UNC-Pembroke.

The Dolphins (0-2) kick off their six-game home schedule on Saturday at Noon. Fans will be able to follow the game in a variety of ways - the radio broadcast will air on 1010XL starting at 11:30 a.m., with a tape-delay TV broadcast on Comcast locally airing on Channel 14, along with live video streaming through ASun.TV.

"We're ready to get going," said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. "It's always exciting to play your first home game of the season and our guys have had a good week of practice for this game."

Saturday's game will be the first time this season that the JU offense will be fully loaded with all of its weapons. The Dolphins have been besieged by injuries during training camp, which held some key players out during the first two games.

Two of those key players will be making their home debut on Saturday - freshmen Tommie Rogers and Rudell Small.

Rogers, a lightning quick running back, had two catches for 60 yards and a touchdown in the opener against Bethune-Cookman. An injury from training camp limited his time in the opener and he sat out the Gardner-Webb game to rest up for the upcoming conference schedule.

Small missed the opener but played well in the contest at Gardner-Webb, leading the Dolphins in rushing yards with 35 yards on seven carries.

"We're excited that these two guys are going to be back at full force for us," Bell said. "They are two playmakers that we want to get the ball to as much as possible."

Defensively, the Dolphins front four sees the return of some veteran talent as well as a transition.

Quintan Salery has moved from his position at linebacker to defensive end, providing more support on the run and the added dimension of blitzing on passing plays.

The Dolphins will welcome back defensive tackle Sean Davis and defensive end Mirco Zanella to the lineup. Davis missed the first two games due to injuries, while Zanella sat out the Gardner-Webb game after playing in the season opener.

FANS COMING OUT: The demand for JU football has never been higher as the Dolphins have sold out the parking in "The Grove" next to D.B. Milne Field while seeing a huge increase in season ticket sales.

"If the weather cooperates, we're expecting a good crowd for Saturday's game," said JU director of marketing & tickets Carter Henderson. "With `The Grove' selling out, we are looking forward to each home game being a major event."

Due to the heavy rains in the Jacksonville-area during the week, their will be room to park 20-25 cars in "The Grove," with the rest being parked in the JUAA Tailgate Zone, just a short walk from the "The Grove."