UNA Football gets ready for second year in the Division I

It was media day up in Florence for a few University of North Alabama sports. The Lions football team shared how things are different this year as they enter their second season in division one play.

Posted: Aug 5, 2019 8:55 PM

It was media day up in Florence for a few University of North Alabama sports. The Lions football team shared how things are different this year as they enter their second season in division one play. Today marked the first day in full pads for the UNA Lions football team. When I talked to a few players at media day, they said being back in full force makes them feel like little kids again.

"It was fun, you know I like the contact," red-shirt sophomore Jakobi Byrd said. "You know it just brings back memories from being a little kid, putting on the big shoulder pads and stuff it's just fun."

"I was waiting for that day, I was waiting for coach to give us that live," senior defensive back K.J. Smith said. "It's just hard being out there and not being able to tackle, but I love it. We had a great day at practice today, so it was good."

This time last season, the Lions hadn't figured out who would be the guy to play quarterback, but this year is different, senior Christian Lopez is fighting to keep the role after earning the spot despite some serious setbacks at the beginning of last season.

"Last year I was just playing catch up the whole time," Christian Lopez said. "I got staff twice, hurt my knee, so it feels good to just be able to go out there and play football and not having to worry about things like that, so it feels good."

Now this Lions offense is relying on the Lopez to be the leader on this team and that's something his coaches and teammates are seeing.

"He does a really good job," offensive coordinator Ryan Aplin said. "You know, those guys, ultimately they function when he's going. You know they react to him and he understands his role and he understands that when he's in rhythm and how he reacts to certain scenarios that's what the guys are going to do. So I think he understands that and he has embraced that role and he's done a really good job with it."

"It's going to be a positive because we've got a lot better chemistry," wide receiver Jakobi Byrd said. "Last year you know it was like 'who's this guy?' and now it's like that's my brother so you know I'm going to go out there and play for him and I'm going to lay it on the line and he's going to do the same for me."

Offensive coordinator Ryan Aplin also WAAY 31 that the motto he's saying to the offensive line this year is one beat. They've got to play together, because if one guy is out of sync it messes everything up. The Lions are back in action in 24 days when they face Western Illinois on their home field.

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