WHEELING W.Va. (WTRF)–College football in the Ohio Valley is just days away and before you know it the stands will be filled with cheering fans. 

Over at Wheeling University, the mighty Cardinals have been preparing for the last three weeks and they will kick off the season on Thursday against Seton Hill. 

The team’s head coach, Zac Bruney is on his 5th year with the Cardinals and he says this is a team of leaders. 

Offensively we return eight starters, Sy and Jake. We returned three offensive linemen that have started games for us. We have a new quarterback, but he is not a new quarterback in terms of experience concern. Javon Davis, a transfer from IUP.

We have some experienced guys up front, Mike Brown and also Chase Nolan. The experience we have, we are excited about the guys returning. They know how to practice. They know how to work, and they’ve shown the young guys how to do things the right way in the preseason in terms of preparations concern.

Zac Bruney, Head Coach 

Coach Bruney says there are similarities between his team and Seton Hill’s and expects Thursday’s non-conference game to be a challenge.  

His teammates say he leads by example, redshirt senior captain, Jake Keenan says the teams mix of skill and experience is what makes them stand out against their competition.

Wheeling University Football 2022

We’re griddy. We’re a griddy group of guys. We love to play hard and play fast, and we don’t take anything from anybody.

We’ve got the young guys stepping up. Everybody is working hard, giving us good looks. Our coaches make us fly around, being on us. We’re excited to get after it. We feel like we deserve a good season this year.

Jake Keenan, senior, wide-receiver

Although the saying is practice makes perfect, a huge component depends on the work they put on OFF the field.  

Team Captain Sy Alli says the Cardinal’s coaching staff has high expectations and pushes the team to be the best it can be.  

Every day, every practice, they make us mentally tougher every day so that’s what we strive to do… to be the toughest team physically and mentally on the field.

You have to study. You can’t just come out here and expect to play and make great plays. You have to study the opponent, see what their tendencies are. It’s something they like to do. It’s a very big part of football.

Sy Alli, senior, running back

They’ve got a roster full of returners. You can watch them open their season on September 1, 2022 at Wheeling University.

The Cardinals will play their first Mountain East Conference game on week two.