AU Football Eagles Gearing Up For 2017

  • 8/11/2017 2:54:40 PM
  • Jeff Alan
  • Local Sports

ASHLAND, OH-  After going 9-2 and winning the GLIAC South Division, the Ashland University football team has opened preseason camp at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field under 14th-year coach Lee Owens.  The biggest question going into camp is the most obvious, who will be replacing Adam Shaheen, now with the Chicago Bears, at tight end.

"The biggest question we have is replacing him," (Adam Shaheen) say, Owens.  Michael Schweitzer out of Columbus, Ohio has really good hands.  Jack Holl played three years for us at tight end big physical 270lb. tight end.  We have some guys but I don't know if we've got the 45th overall draft pick again at tight end."

Though tight end may be a question mark the position of quarterback is not as the Eagles will be led once again by redshirt senior Travis Tarnowski.  Tarnowski begins his final season as the all-time leader in touchdown passes with 80, and is second all-time in career passing yards with 8,277 yards and is 27-5 as a starter.

"We think we have the best passer in Division II football," says Owens.  I think there is a web site out there called "Hero Sports" and it follows Division II football and they vote for the best returning quarterback and Travis is neck and neck with a quarterback out of Texas Commerce (Luis Perez 3,336 yards, 32 TD's).  Even people around the country think he's the best returning QB."

The 9-2 finish for most teams would be considered good, but not quite good enough for Tarnowski.  "Personally I strive to be perfect.  I always strive for perfection and that's kinda my Motta.  I can't be like a baseball pitcher and go out there and have a tough night and get pulled in the 4th inning.  I gotta be perfect for four quarters."

Ashland is also strong across the offensive line with plenty of game time experience up front.  "We have four three year starters," says redshirt senior center Dominic Giunta.  We lost an All-American so it's gonna be a hit for us at right guard, but we really have good competition right now, but we will be good in the end."

"A lot of times teams will measure their chances for success by how many starts they have up front on the offensive line," says Owens.   This team has more starts than any team I've coached here."

"It starts with those guys," says Tarnowski.  We're not getting anything done if those guys don't work hard in the summer and don't work hard in the winter and are not dedicated like they are and they've played a lot of football games.  I'm feeling really good with them and we have close bonds.  They care for me, I care for them so it's good to see a lot of those guys back."

Ashland U. will open the season on the road against 7th ranked Indiana, PA. on September 2nd at 7 pm.  The Eagles are one of three GLIAC teams that are ranked in the top 25.  The Eagles are 16th, Ferris State (12-3 in 2016) is ranked second.  Grand Valley State (12-1 in 2016) is third.  The Eagles will host both teams Ferris State on Saturday, September 23rd at 7 pm, and Grand Valley on Saturday, November 4th at 7 pm.  Over the last five seasons, the AU Eagles have gone 43-11. 


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