New Hampshire Football Report

UNH ready to start over

Allen Lessels

It’s almost time.

Dozens of University of New Hampshire football players wrapped up optional summer conditioning workouts earlier this week and then took off for a few days as a final break before preseason camp begins.

Insider125Players are due to report back to campus Sunday and their first practice in preparation for the 2016 season is Monday. The Wildcats hold their Media Day on Tuesday afternoon on the field in their new Wildcat Stadium.

“Today and tomorrow are the big calm,” said UNH head coach Sean McDonnell on Friday afternoon. “Sunday it starts getting frantic again. It’s a good time of the year, though.”

The Wildcats open the season at San Diego State, an FBS school, on Sept. 3 (8:30 p.m.) and then christen their new home with a game against College of the Holy Cross on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m.

The stadium debut adds another element to what is already an amped-up atmosphere around the football offices and locker room.

“It’s seeing the fence up around the field, seeing everything,” McDonnell said. “It’s a neat situation right now. It’s impressive what they’ve done here. It’s all coming together now that you can see the big picture. You’ve seen it on a wall, the concept, now that you see it in real life, it’s pretty cool.”

The Wildcats have put together a winning record and qualified for the Division 1 national tournament each of the last 12 years, which is the longest streak in the land.

They finished with an overall record of 7-5 last year and lost in the first round of the tournament. They advanced to the FCS semifinals in 2013 and 2014.

This year’s team – led by captains Casey DeAndrade, Ryan Farrell and Adam Riese – was picked in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll of head coaches and team athletic communications personnel to finish fifth in the league.

The summer workouts overseen by director of strength and conditioning Paul Chapman went well, according to McDonnell.

“From listening to what Chappy said and seeing how they did in their test results and what he said about the conditioning runs at the end of the summer, the kids are in pretty good shape,” McDonnell said. “We’re looking forward to it. It’s an exciting time.”

The Wildcats, who have earned home playoff games in each of the last two seasons, have five home games scheduled for the regular season.

After the historic Wildcat Stadium opener on Sept. 10, they play William & Mary at home on Oct. 1 at 3:30 for Homecoming. They also play James Madison on Oct. 15 at noon, Stony Brook on Oct. 29 at noon and Albany on Nov. 12 at noon in Wildcat Stadium.

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