Looking back on a challenging and demanding week for the players, head coach Steve Englehart said his top goal was achieved.“I think the biggest positive was we came together as a team,” he said. “That was my No. 1 goal. I wanted them to get to know one another and really buy into what the coaches are expecting of them. I think they’ve done that. We’ve had an on-going development series with meetings and had guests talk to them. Every night, we had different groups [of players] introduce themselves and say something about themselves. We’ve had a lot of laughs and fun together, which are signs that we’re coming together as a team. If you can get your guys to come together as a team, play together and love one another, you’re going to be successful.”
Less than three weeks remain before FIT’s inaugural game on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. against NCAA Division I-AA Stetson at Palm Bay High School’s Pirate Stadium. After the first week, several players have emerged on both sides of the ball.“Defensively, Nate McDowell is playing well at the hammer position,” Englehart said. “Jaz Gamble at our SAM linebacker is playing well. J.J. Sanders is doing some good things. Tyler Rosenblatt is playing extremely well. He’s proven he’s going to be a viable guy not only on special teams, but within our defense. Up front, our defensive line is playing pretty well. Skylar Sheffield, a guy we brought in and have big expectations for, is meeting those expectations.
“Xavier Milton, Aaron George and Tyler Bass are standing out on offense. Wayne Saunders is quietly good. Collin O’Neal is playing well and all of our quarterbacks are also doing well. We’re really good in a lot of positions. We need to continue to get better in all we do. The offensive line has the potential to be really, really good. With an offensive line, it takes a lot of repetitions. I look for them to continue working hard over the next couple of weeks.”With the fall semester starting on Monday, the Panthers will take the day off and return to the practice field on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Single-game general admission tickets for all six of FIT’s home games are on sale at FloridaTechSports.com, at the Clemente Center Ticket Office Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and by dialing 321-674-8032. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors ages 65 and above, FIT faculty and staff with school ID, children ages 5-16 and active duty military with ID. Children under five years of age are free.