The Dayton Flyers kick off the season today at Welcome Stadium against the Georgetown Hoyas. Dayton will be counting heavily on fifth-year quarterback Will Bardo.
“It just comes with the position,” Bardo said. “Guys are going to look at you when a tough time comes along so you can never get too high or too low.”
Bardo hasn’t backed down from the pressure. He enters his fourth season as the Flyers starting quarterback with a shot at the all-time career yardage record at Dayton. The last three seasons he’s often been better with his feet than with his arm.
“I’ve really been able to work a lot on pocket passing this summer, I’ve worked on throwing more than anything,” he said. “The running part is more of a natural instinct and throwing is one thing I’ve had to work on more.”
Any quarterback is only as good as the guys up front. At first glance that doesn’t look good for Bardo. There is only one full-time returning starter and three of the five Dayton linemen are redshirt sophomores. Bardo insists that’s not a problem.
“There have been times when I’ve come in before and it’s natural not to feel completely comfortable back there,” he said. “But I’ve had a lot of time to work with these guys and I believe in them and know they’re going to get the job done.”
Dayton coach Rick Chamberlin expects Bardo and the offense to set the tone for the Flyers, who haven’t been shutout in a game since 1976. Dayton’s streak of 419 games without being blanked is the longest streak in college football.
“This is the most confidence they’ve had going into to the first game,” Chamberlin said. “They’re feeling pretty good and they’ve shown they can move the ball up and down the field.”
Today’s game will be the first time since 2010 that UD has opened at home. It also marks the 40th season for Chamberlin as a Flyers player and coach.