UWSP football fall camp begins

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STEVENS POINT, Wis.-- The UW-Stevens Point Pointers held their first football practice of fall camp today. The team has been picked to finish sixth in the WIAC, but they're out to prove that wrong.

Last season for the second year in a row, the Pointers finished below .500 with a 4-6 record. That taught them some valuable lessons along the way.

"Our players are excited because they kind of understand the expectations around our program, how we practice, how we prepare,” said UWSP head Greg Breitbach. “Certainly we feel like we can make a jumpstart on this season better than we did last year."

Consistency is key, and it was also lacking for the Pointers last year, with both sides of the ball playing at a high level one week, then following it up with a sub-par performance the next. The defense plans to send a message early.

"Just hustle, being tough, hitting hard, that's what we do every single year,” said senior safety Sam Shafer. “We always want to be the toughest guys in the conference. We want people to go out there and when they play us they're going to be scared because they know we're going to hit them in the mouth."

It's only day one of fall camp and there's still plenty of work ahead for the Pointers. But they're already ahead of the curve compared to this time last year. In Breitbach's second season at the helm, there's a comfort level this squad didn't have going in to 2018.

"We just kind of had our first install, and you could just tell guys in the meeting room, there were questions, but people knew what was going on,” said senior quarterback Matt Urmanski. “You could tell the experience was kind of showing forth, and it's exciting to come out here and kind of use that on the field."

The Pointers won two of their final three games to end the season. They start this year games against two ranked opponents, John Carroll and Wabash, a golden opportunity to keep that momentum rolling.

"This is a great non-conference schedule,” said Breitbach. “We're looking forward to that challenge. There's nothing better than taking your team on the road week one into a hostile environment, and being ready for that challenge."