Sports

Football open season at home Saturday against Bryant

Bruno eyes matchup at Fenway Park, aims to maintain game-by-game mentality entering season

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, September 14, 2017

It’s been 300 days since the football team finished the 2016 season at Brown Stadium. Saturday, it will return to the gridiron to face off against in-state rival Bryant University. The Bears have won two of the last three against Bryant (1-1), but the Bulldogs have an advantage in starting their season two weeks earlier.

“The unknown is that we have to play a team with two games under their belt that probably know what they are and who they are and have been able to make corrections,” said Head Coach Phil Estes P’18. “That’s where most teams make the most improvements — after the second game. We’re not going to know that … I’m more worried about our team and how we execute than I am about our opponent.”

Despite all the uncertainty surrounding the opening game, one thing is clear: The Bears are hungry for a win and have high expectations for 2017.

“I really want to go out there and just destroy this team,” said co-captain Isaiah Thompkins ’19. “We want to go 10-0 and win a championship. We have a lot of guys coming back who are really passionate about football, so I’m optimistic about this season.”

After finishing last season fourth in the league with a 4-6 record, Bruno will have a chance to start fresh and rise from the ashes, literally.

“It was a disappointment,” Estes said. “There were games that we could’ve won that we let go, and I don’t think we played completely up to our capabilities. But that’s over with. We dealt with it. We had a ceremony, and we burned that. We burned the media guide. We burned everything. We do it every year, so we can get rid of last year and move on.”

Since leaving the 2016 season behind, the Bears have reshaped themselves, implementing a dry season and adopting the team motto, “Be Elite.”

“This year, our team is all in,” said co-captain Richard “Dewey” Jarvis ’17.5. “Everyone is committing to the team and committing to the season. I like our resilience. After the Yale scrimmage — it wasn’t a great scrimmage for us — our team’s just bounced back with so much energy.”

Nicholas Duncan ’19 is set to lead the Bears’ up-tempo spread offense as the starting quarterback. He’ll be supported by running back David Moodie ’19, whose impact on the field was  cut short by injuries last season. On the defensive side, veteran standouts like Terrell Smith ’18, Connor Coughlin ’18 and Jarvis ­— who led the league in tackles for loss in 2016­­ — will ensure opponents don’t venture too close to the redzone. Numerous unique and complex defensive schemes will also prove troublesome for opposing offenses.

One offense Bruno hopes to stop short is Harvard. The Crimson bested the Bears by just ten points a year ago, but Thompkins is anticipating a hard-fought game in Cambridge Sept. 23. And in November, Brown will return to the city for the most highly anticipated matchup of its season against Dartmouth at Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox, which holds over 37,000 spectators.

“It gives me chills just being able to play on that field,” Thompkins said. “It’s legendary.”

Though Brown Stadium does not have a Green Monster, the Bear Den, a new student section located in front of the video scoreboard, will feature free t-shirts, free food and a live DJ.

“I want to get into the endzone and have a crowd there that’s excited about having some fun and being into the game,” Estes said. “If we can get as many people as possible there, I’m all for it. I’d love to make the Bear Den a den of angry bears.”

A free shuttle to the stadium will be running Saturday, and students have access to all home games with their Brown ID. Kickoff for Saturday’s game is set for 12:30 p.m.