With 15 returning starters and 39 lettermen overall back in a Lumberjack uniform, 2012 is expected to bring great success for NAU football. After finishing 4-7 last season, many thought that their record did not ultimately represent the play on the field as five of their losses totaled a combined 20 points. With all of these returning players, Head Coach Jerome Souers and his team will have the opportunity to prove that.
The Lumberjacks are returning their starting quarterback Cary Grossart who threw for over 2700 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2011. Furthermore, running back Zack Bauman is back, coming off a season where he rushed for just under 1500 yards and 15 touchdowns. Bauman is bringing in many pre-season accolades into 2012. He has been named to the Walter Payton Award watch list as well as named to the Big Sky All-Conference squad.
“Zack Bauman is getting as much accolade and pre-season attention as any player we have had in quite some time,” Souers mentioned.
Bauman, a former running back at Hamilton High School, along with many other Arizona natives makeup a core that is providing a lot of the leadership to a team the hopes to have a lot of success inside the dome.
“Seeing anybody in your program have success is important but from the state of Arizona is even that much more important,” explained Souers. “We have had some success with a lot of guys from the valley and more recently in the last four or five years we have signed over half of our classes from the state of Arizona.”
The Lumberjacks look to turn some heads in the process. They are pre-season ranked 9th by the media and 7th by the coaches in the Big Sky Conference and eyeing a birth in the FCS playoffs for the first time since 2003.
All of the excitement leads up to August 30 for game one of the 2012 season in a matchup in Tempe verse Arizona State. It will be a game that Sun Devil faithful have circled as well as it is the first game of the Todd Graham era. Jerome Sours says it is always something he and his team prepare for and look forward too.
“It’s hard work going against those guys,” said Souers. “I am sure they will be well coached and well prepared like they always are. Were going to go in there and give all we got like we always do and do everything we possibly can to win the game.”