Former University of Dayton standouts Larry Nickels (’73) and Jackie Green (’87) have been named the Honorary Captains for Sunday’s annual Spring Football Game. The game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET, and will be preceded by a youth football clinic beginning at 11 a.m. ET. Both events are free and both will be held at Welcome Stadium.
One of the greatest receivers to ever play Flyer football, Nickels put up some of UD’s best pass-catching numbers when it wasn’t common to put up those numbers. He was named team MVP as a senior in 1972, when he caught a then-school-record 44 passes for a then-school-record 706 yards. Career-wise, he had 99 receptions for 1,376 yards), graduating with both records in his name. He was inducted into the UD Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005. He retired from teaching in his hometown of Springfield, Ohio.
Green earned the nickname “Jackie The Jet” as a four-year letterwinner at tailback from 1983 to 1986. He gained 2,158 yards in his career, which places him eighth all-time at Dayton. Team co-captain and MVP as a senior, Green played on teams that were a combined 34-8. His teams played in the playoffs in 1984 and 1986. The Columbus, Ohio native now is Vice-President of Corporate Banking for Wesbanco in Columbus.
The game will consist of four eight-minute quarters, with limited special teams activity. There will be live field goal and PAT attempts, but no kickoffs (the ball will be placed at the receiving team's 25-yard line in kickoff situations) and all punts must be fair caught.
At the coin flip before the game, the 2011 team captains will be announced. At halftime, 2010 team captain Joe Ries will represent his teammates in a ring ceremony honoring the Flyers’ 2010 PFL Championship Team. Members of the team that won UD’s second straight PFL title and finished the year ranked 25th in the final NCAA FCS poll will receive their championship rings following the game in the Donoher Center.
As in the past, the end of the game will in some ways begin the 2011 season, as members of UD’s incoming recruits who are in attendance (over 20 at press time) will join their new teammates on the field. They will be paired up with their “Big Brothers,” the veterans who will shepherd them through their first few weeks of Flyer football.
The Red & Blue Game will be broadcast live on Newstalk 1290 WHIO Radio, and streamed at www.DaytonFlyers.com. Coach Chamberlin will join Flyer play-by-play announcer Larry Hansgen in the booth to provide commentary during the game.
Chamberlin says the team is ready for Sunday’s game. "The coaches have been pleased with the progress the team has made this spring,” he said. “We can see the confidence level growing in those players who will be starters for the first time next fall. I expect a typical spring game, one with a lot of energy and hard hits. And since we divide the teams so evenly, another very competitive game."
UD is replacing 12 starters from last year’s team that finished 10-1. That’s typical for senior-laden Dayton teams. The Flyers won the PFL with a perfect 8-0 league record after plugging in eight new starters. UD was ranked 25th in both the final Sports Network and AFCA Coaches’ Polls.