Colin Monnier is one of UD's 2012 team captains.
DAYTON, Ohio – University of Dayton head football coach Rick Chamberlin and his staff will welcome 110 players back to campus Monday, August 6 as the Flyers prepare for the 2012 football season. Chamberlin is back for his fifth season as UD’s head coach and returns 13 starters (six offense, six defense, one specialist) from the team that went 6-5 last season.
Leading the returnees is redshirt senior running back Taylor Harris. Harris was First Team All-Pioneer Football League and UD’s Most Valuable Player in 2011. Despite missing the last game-and-a-half with a hamstring injury, Harris gained 899 yards on 132 carries and scored nine touchdowns. The Highland High School graduate was the second-leading rusher in the PFL, and his 6.8 yards-per-carry led the league.
Other returning starters on offense are redshirt sophomore quarterback Will Bardo, senior tackle Tom Corcoran, redshirt senior guard Owen Elger, redshirt sophomore Branden Johnson and redshirt senior center Bill Petraiuolo. Bardo was the PFL’s top rushing QB (491 yards) and passed for another 1,206 (106 of 229, .463, 13 TD, 6 int) in his first season. Over his last four games, he was 49 of 97 passing (.505) for 583 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception. Johnson was the second-leading Flyer receiver last year (25 catches for a team-high 15.9 yards per catch average).
Cornerback Matt Pfleger and linebacker Colin Monnier headline the defense.
Pfleger has started every game for the last two years at cornerback for the Flyers, after beginning his career as a wide receiver. Last year he had 43 hits (seventh on the team), three interceptions (second) and six passes batted away (tied for first) with one fumble recovery and one fumble forced.
Monnier earned UD’s Most Improved Player Award last season. In his first college action after not playing in 2009 or 2010, Monnier played in all 11 games and was second on the team in tackles (64) and tackles for loss (9). He also filled the most stat categories of any Dayton defender with two sacks, two interceptions, two passes broken up, and a QB hurry and a fumble forced.
Also back on defense as starters are senior tackle Brannon Dunn, redshirt senior tackle Phil DeBoer, cornerback Kyle Sebetic and redshirt senior safety Ben Welsh. Dunn had eight sacks in 2011, while DeBoer added 3.5. Sebetic had 31 solo tackles in nine games. Welsh added 24 total hits in just four games.
Chamberlin has guided UD to 34 wins in his first four seasons, going 9-3 in 2008, 9-2 in 2009, 10-1 in 2010 and 6-5 last year. The average margin of the 11 losses in the Chamberlin era are less than a touchdown (6.6 points), with five coming by three points or less.
While the Flyers return six starters on offense, the Dayton attack will be directed by a new offensive coordinator. Chris Ochs, who spent his first 12 seasons at UD coaching the offensive line, takes over for Dave Whilding, who retired after 35 years at Dayton. Landon Fox returns for his third year as UD’s defensive coordinator.
For the sixth consecutive year, the Flyers are continuing “Tuesday Night Lights”, the free program where pee wee football teams take the field for a practice with the University of Dayton football players. For eight Tuesdays beginning September 4, teams that sign up in advance will get a pre practice talk from Chamberlin, take the field to warm up with the UD football team, and then observe practice until their evening is over at 8:15 p.m.
Dayton will open the season on Saturday, Sept. 1 at Illinois State. Game time will be 2 p.m. ET. The Flyers will also spend week two on the road, playing at Duquesne. This will be the first time UD has opened the year with two road games since 1977. Dayton’s home opener will be against Robert Morris the next week on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 1:00 p.m. ET.
The Flyers’ PFL opener will be Saturday, Sept. 22 against Jacksonville. Other Pioneer Football League teams visiting Welcome Stadium in 2012 are Morehead State (Oct. 13), Valparaiso (Oct. 20) and Drake (Nov. 3).
The MSU game on Oct. 13 will also be the date of annual Flyer Football Reunion Weekend. All former Flyer football players will be invited back to campus, with the guests of honor being the members of UD’s 2002 team. That team won the PFL and was crowned Dayton’s first NCAA Division I-AA Mid-Major national champions and is celebrating the 10th anniversary of that season.
After reporting, attending meetings, getting their equipment and undergoing physicals Monday, the team will undergo fitness tests Tuesday morning. First practice for the 2012 Flyers will be Tuesday afternoon, August 7, at 2:30 p.m. ET. Practices will be conducted at Welcome Stadium and the Jerry Von Mohr grass practice field adjacent to Welcome Stadium.
The Flyers will hold their first preseason scrimmage Sunday, Aug. 12 at 10 a.m. ET. The final full scrimmage of camp will be Saturday, August 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET as part of the University’s New Student Orientation Program.
Tickets Now On Sale...Season tickets are only $40 for adults and $20 for ages 18 and under. Single game tickets are $10.00 for adults. In addition, children eighth grade and younger who sign up for the Future Flyer Kids Club will receive free tickets to all UD football games. Call 229-4433 for info on group rates.
Good News Worth Repeating...The Flyers enter the season with the second-best winning percentage (.780, 103-29) in FCS football since 2000 AND have produced the most football Academic All-Americans (22) at any level of competition in the same time frame. The Top Five are Montana (.820), Dayton (.780), Harvard (.773), Appalachian State (.745) and San Diego (.684).
Streaking…UD has not been shut out in a school-record 397 straight games, the best such active string in all of college football. The last team to shut out the Flyers was Marshall, 9-0, on Oct. 16, 1976. That is also the all-time FCS record.
The Man At The Top…Head coach Rick Chamberlin guided UD to 28 wins in his first three seasons, going 9-3 in 2008,
9-2 in 2009 and 10-1 in 2010. That’s the best three-year start by any Flyer football coach. Dayton won a share of PFL championships in two of his first three years, and missed the third by just five points at JU in the last game of 2008.
More Than His Share…Rick Chamberlin has been a part of 328 of UD’s 628 wins – 26 as a player, 268 as an assistant coach, and 34 as a head coach. He has also been a part of 417 of UD’s 1,002 games.
Success In The Classroom…In the last 12 years, the University of Dayton football program has produced 22 Academic All-Americans, the most of any college football team. In the history of the Academic All-America program, UD football has had 52 Academic All-Americans. Among schools playing Division I football, only Nebraska (101), Penn State (59) and Notre Dame (55) have had more. The Flyers also had a school-record 74 players on the 2011 PFL Academic Honor Roll, the most in the PFL for the 17th time in the 19-year history of the league. UD is one of 12 D-I schools (and the only one in the PFL) to have a Campbell Trophy semifinalist for six straight seasons.
600 Club…The Flyers became the 11th NCAA FCS team (and the €first west of the Alleghenies) to win at least 600 games in its football history when UD beat Davidson on October 18, 2008. Here are the 15 members of the club, heading into the 2012 season. Yale (869), Harvard (821), Penn (818), Princeton (786), Fordham (749), Delaware (656), Dartmouth (656), Lafayette (654), Lehigh (650), Dayton (628), North Dakota State (627), Cornell (625), Northern Iowa (620), Colgate (608) and Holy Cross (604). Of the 600 Club members, Dayton has played the fewest seasons (104, nine fewer than Northern Iowa’s 113). UD moved into the Top 10 in 2010. The Flyers’ .641 all-time winning percentage is fourth among the “600 club” and eighth all-time. The top ten going into 2012 consists of is Grambling (.706), Yale (.705), Harvard (.676), Florida A&M (.667), Princeton (.663), Tennessee State (.654), Georgia Southern (.645), Dayton (.641), Appalachian State (.640) and Penn (.634).
PFL Power…The Pioneer Football League is entering its 20th season. The original (and now the only) Division I strictly need-based football league began with charter members Butler, Dayton, Drake, Evansville, San Diego and Valparaiso. Current members Butler, Campbell, Davidson, Dayton, Drake, Jacksonville, Marist, Morehead State, San Diego, and Valparaiso will be joined in 2013 by Mercer and Stetson. The Flyers’ 79-23 PFL record is the best in the history of the league.