"We look real good and are returning a lot of people on offense. Our backfield and receivers are back, as well as our kicker. The defensive line is a real strength, and safety Jeromy Miles was named a preseason All American. The linebackers are young and inexperienced, but they'll come along."
Zardas, a 6-1, 230-pounder, is doing a lot of speed work, conditioning, running and lifting with a large group of teammates.
Last year, he played in 12 games, had 23 rushes for 138 yards and four touchdowns. The Minutemen open the season on Sept. 5 under the lights at Kansas State.
"We've got a great group of guys working hard. I'm lifting five days and running three times a week," Zardas said. "I'm going to be starting at fullback and doing one-back stuff, as well, so it looks like I'll get a lot of carries and catch a lot of passes. That's the perfect setup for me, and I want to make sure I'm in the best shape possible when we start those double sessions."
Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.