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Pioneers Kick off Preseason Camp

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Sacred Heart football team kicked off its first full week of preseason practice on Monday morning at Campus Field. After reporting for camp on Friday, the team held its first full practices over the weekend.

"I like where we're at after day four of camp," said head coach Mark Nofri, who returns for his seventh season at the helm of the Pioneers. "The humidity has played a factor the last couple of days, but the kids pushed through it. I really like some of these new guys we've brought to our program from the true freshman up through the transfers. They fit in well to what Sacred Heart is all about and fit well with the team."

SHU, who was tabbed sixth in the NEC Preseason Coaches' Poll, returns six starters on offense and three on defense from last year's squad that finished with a 4-7 record. The Pioneers will be in search of their fifth winning season in the last six years when they take the field for the Sept. 1 season opener against Lafayette.

"From an athletic standpoint, I think we've increased our talent level," Nofri said. "We are young but have some pretty good talent. I do like what some of the leaders in senior captains have been able to do in terms of bringing intensity, work ethic and expectations for the rest of the young kids on the team by showing them how to get through camp and adjusting to college life and college football."

Nofri said the biggest challenge through the early part of camp each year is keeping his squad healthy as the team ramps up activity.

"Just trying to keep everyone healthy and on the same page," Nofri said. "Getting in a good practice without losing someone to an injury and making sure we get in football shape, not just shape in general."

The matchup with Lafayette will be the first of five home games for SHU this season, including a non-conference game against Penn (Oct. 6), and three Northeast Conference matchups against Bryant (Oct. 27), Robert Morris (Nov. 3) and Saint Francis (Pa.) (Nov. 17).

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