DURHAM, N.H.--The University of New Hampshire football team will kick off the spring football season on Saturday, April 8 beginning at 9:15 a.m.
Second-year head coach Sean McDonnell will bring together all of his returning players as they prepare for the 2000 campaign, after the squad posted an overall record of 5-6 and a mark of 3-5 in the Atlantic 10 Football Conference.
The Wildcats return six starters on offense and nine on defense, not to mention close to 40 letterwinners from last season. Numbers like that could bode well for the 'Cats in the year 2000. The Wildcats were explosive offensively last season and led the conference in yards per game with 453.3 yards per contest. UNH also had the second-best rushing total in the Atlantic 10 (211.4 yards per game.
Key players to watch for the upcoming season include junior quarterback Ryan Day (Manchester, N.H.) junior Jon Oosterhuis (Guelph, Ontario), who could play at either linebacker or defensive end, and senior linebacker Brett Bashaw, just to name a few.
Day had a tremendous breakthrough season in 1999, completing 221 of 364 passes for 2,573 yards and 18 touchdowns, which are the best numbers among the Atlantic 10's returning quarterbacks. His 128.7 quarterback rating was third-best in the conference and he led the third-highest rated pass offense in the league with 241 yards per contest.
Oosterhuis is ready to go after some nagging injuries at the end of last season and he will be moved from linebacker to defensive end in 2000. 6-4, 240-pounder was the third-leading tackler on the squad last season with a total of 64, while he also led UNH in sacks with six for 39 yards lost.
Bashaw was UNH's leading tackler in 1999 with 111 on the season, as he has moved into the top 10 at UNH career tackles. He also notched eight tackles for a loss of 35 yards and one sack.
The question mark that has emerged this season is who will run in the backfield for the Wildcats, following the graduation of both Dan Kreider and Dan Curran.
Spring practice will end on Saturday, May 6th when the football team holds its annual Blue/White Spring Game. The action begins at 1 p.m. in Cowell Stadium.