FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona football program reports on Sunday, August 9 with its first practice being held Monday, August 10 at 11:30 a.m. Head Coach Jerome Souers enters his 18th season at the helm of the Lumberjack program and brings with him a stellar senior class. Led by a determined group of upperclassmen to leave it all on the field, NAU will open the season on the road on Sept. 5 at Stephen F. Austin.
A Quick Glance at the Offense
First-year offensive coordinator Tim Plough inherits a roster that features seven returning starters and 18 players with at least one career start heading into the 2015 season. Plough spent the previous two seasons as the Lumberjacks' wide receivers coach. With Plough taking over the OC reins NAU will still run a multiple offense, but fans should expect to a little bit more of an up-tempo offense. Filling the void at wide receivers coach is former Arizona State standout Aaron Pflugrad. Another change-up on the coaching staff is the addition of Tim Davis as the offensive line coach. Davis brings over 30 years of coaching experience to Lumberjack Country. First Team All-Big Sky and All-American fullback Nick Butier will lead the NAU offense in his final season.
"Coach Souers made it very clear to the staff and the players that he expected the 2015 NAU Offense to be an evolution in all areas. We want the offense to be explosive, opportunistic, and unique in comparison to other offenses in the country. When you look at our roster we have a great mix of veteran players and youth at all positions. Obviously we still have a lot of work to do, but we know were on the right track to creating an offense that everyone can get behind and be proud of. The season is right around the corner, we know our team goal is to win a conference championship, and it's time to start swinging that axe." - Tim Plough
A Quick Glance at the Defense
Andy Thompson returns for his 11th season at NAU and seventh as the defensive coordinator. Heading into this season, Thompson has five returning seniors on defense, along with some talented underclassmen that saw playing time last season. NAU is always considered a constant threat on defense and the year 2015 shouldn't be any different. After ranking first in the Big Sky in 2014 in pass defense and opponent third-down conversions, and second in scoring defense, pass defense efficiency and opponent first downs, NAU is poised to improve those numbers come the fall. Cha'pelle Brown is the new man on the block for the defensive coaching staff as he takes over the cornerbacks. Helping to make the transition smooth for Brown is the return of senior All-American Marcus Alford. Just one of six starters returning on defense, Alford is one of the best pass defenders in the nation and will guide the Lumberjack in 2015.
"At NAU we pride ourselves in having a solid defensive forefront and in order to do that we have to make plays. Our guys understand that the defense has to bring their A game, every game; but it all starts in practice. This season won't be any different. We have to stay aggressive, focused and on top of our game." - Andy Thompson
A Quick Glance at Special Teams
Special teams play for NAU has been consistent in kicking duties over the past two seasons. When you add to the mix a group of experienced punt and kick returners, 'Jack special teams should have no problem elevating themselves to the next level in 2015. Last year, the Lumberjacks ranked 25th nationally in net punting (44.3). NAU was 22nd in the nation and second in the Big Sky in kickoff return defense (17.6). Last season, Ryan Hawkins took on more duties than he most likely planned heading in to the season. Hawkins started off as NAU's primary placekicker, but he soon began to take over punting duties, as well.
"Special teams is an area where you can make plays. Whether it's having a good kick or punt return, a nice punt or a monstrous tackle, this is where you can make a difference and change the game. Our guys know that we take special teams very seriously, so they have to be ready at all times." - David Reeves
2015 NAU Football Camp Schedule
August 10th - 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM - Helmets Only – In the Dome (First Day of Practice)
August 11th - 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM - Helmets Only – Upper Fields
August 12th - 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Half Pack – Upper Fields
August 13th - 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Half Pack – Upper Fields
August 14th - 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Full Pack – Upper Fields
August 15th - 2:30 – 4:30 PM – Scrimmage – In the Dome
August 17th - 9:30 - 11:30 AM – Full Pack – Upper Fields - 4:00 – 6:00 PM - In the Dome
August 18th - 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM - Upper Fields
August 19th - 9:30– 11:30 AM – Full Pack – Upper Fields, 4:00 – 6:00 PM – In the Dome
August 20th - 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM – Upper Fields
August 21st - 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM – Upper Fields
August 22nd - 2:00 – 4:00 PM - Scrimmage – Full Pack – In the Dome
August 24th - 9:30 - 11:30 AM – Full Pack – Upper Fields - 4:00 – 6:00 PM - In the Dome
August 25th - - 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM - Upper Fields
August 26th - 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM - Full Pack – Upper Fields - 4:00 – 6:00 PM - In the Dome
August 27st - 4:00 – 6:00 PM - Scrimmage – Full Pack – In the Dome
August 28th - 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM - Upper Fields
August 29th - 4:00 – 6:00 PM - Upper Fields
August 30th – 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM – Upper Fields