A season after falling in the national championship game to the Iowa Western Reivers, the 2013 Butler Grizzlies football team’s goal is the same as it was a season ago, to win the Grizzlies’ 7th national championship.
The quest for Butler’s 7th championship will begin today as the #5 nationally ranked Grizzlies open the season against the Dodge City Conquistadors at 7:08 p.m. in the friendly confines of BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.
The Grizzlies finished the 2012 campaign with an 11-1 record, winning both the Jayhawk Conference and Region VI titles for a third consecutive season.
New season, new team – Butler lost 18 players to NCAA Division I programs from last season.
The solace is the Grizzlies return 17 lettermen (nine on offense, eight on defense), including one defensive starting lineman Owen Williams, kicker Robert Rawlings and punter Ty Suggs.
Defensively, the Grizzly linebackers look to be the strong point this season, despite losing four players at the position to graduation.
Backups a year ago, Nick Cook and Dominik White both saw action last season and will be called to a more extended role in 2013.
Also looking to get time on the field for the Grizzlies are transfers Phillip Williamson and Devon Durant.
Offensively, taking over under center for graduated signal called Billy Cosh is redshirt Hunter Vaughn.
Vaughn has the ability to buy time with his legs and throw effectively on the run.
The Grizzlies lost star running backs Dreamius Smith (W. Virginia) and Derrick Thomas (Boise State). Ty Suggs is the lone returner to the backfield from a season ago having 7 touches to paydirt.
Vaughn will have four targets with experience in Trey Hallman, Michael Glatczak, Dawson Elliott and Steven Walker at tight end.
With a solid mix of veterans and newcomers to the Grizzlies, Butler looks primed for another championship run in 2013.