EIU Football Announces 2014 Schedule, Garoppolo Participates in QB Camp


Published on March 3 2014 8:42 am
Last Updated on March 3 2014 8:42 am
Written by Millie Lange

CHARLESTON, Ill. – Eastern Illinois football has released its 2014 schedule that once again includes two games against FBS schools as the Panthers will play 12 regular season games under first year head coach Kim Dameron.

EIU was 12-2 last season advancing to the FCS playoff quarterfinal round and finishing the season ranked No. 4 in the final FCS polls.

The Panthers will open the season on Thursday night, August 28, at Big Ten Conference member Minnesota.  This will be the first meeting between the two schools and the Panthers first game against a Big Ten opponent since the 2011 season when EIU played at Northwestern.

EIU then returns home for a game against in-state opponent Southern Illinois on Sept. 6.  The 103rd playing of the Mid-America Classic against Illinois State will take place on Sept. 13 as the Panthers visit Normal.

Defense of the Ohio Valley Conference title begins at home for EIU on Sept. 20 against Austin Peay.  The game will serve as Family Weekend on campus.

The final regular-season non-conference game follows on Sept. 27 with a trip to Ohio.  This will be the first meeting between the two schools and the third straight season EIU has faced a team from the Mid-American Conference.

Following an open week, the Panthers will close out the regular season with seven straight OVC games.  The task begins on the road with games at Eastern Kentucky on Oct. 11 and Southeast Missouri on Oct. 18.

EIU’s annual homecoming game will take place on Oct. 25 against Tennessee State, a team EIU beat twice last season including in the second round of the FCS playoffs.

The November schedule features road games at Tennessee Tech (Nov. 1) and Jacksonville State (Nov. 15).  The Panthers two home games in November are against Murray State (Nov. 8) and UT Martin (Nov. 22).

Season ticket renewals and availability for new season ticket orders will take place in early April.

The Panthers spring practice dates will take place March 25 through April 26.  The Spring Game is slated for April 26 with an afternoon kickoff time to be announced later this spring.

Jon Gruden’s QB Camp series is returning to ESPN for its fifth season this spring. Since 2010, the popular SportsCenter specials have produced groundbreaking content that gives fans a first-hand look inside the film room and introduces them to the next generation of NFL standouts.

Nine of the top quarterback prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft are scheduled to participate in Gruden’s QB Camp, including 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, two-time BCS National Champion A.J. McCarron of Alabama, and Louisville standout Teddy Bridgewater.

2014 Gruden’s QB Camp participants:

Blake Bortles   Central Florida        
Tajh Boyd       Clemson
Teddy Bridgewater       Louisville     
Derek Carr      Fresno
Jimmy Garoppolo Eastern Illinois       
Jordan Lynch    Northern Illinois      
A.J. McCarron   Alabama
Johnny Manziel  Texas A&M      
Aaron Murray    Georgia        

ESPN’s Monday Night Football analyst and Super Bowl-winning coach prepares a custom lesson plan for each prospect that highlights strengths and identifies areas of improvement for the quarterback to be successful at the NFL level.

The past four years, Gruden has mentored the likes of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton and Super Bowl XLVIII champion Russell Wilson. Of the 29 quarterbacks (from 27 different schools) who have participated in the one-on-one film sessions, 14 were regular starters during the 2013 NFL season. (See attached infographic for statistics.)

In 2014, QB Camp moves to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort outside Orlando where a new studio replicates Gruden’s Tampa office – affectionately dubbed the Fired Football Coaches Association (FFCA), which has been home to QB Camp since its inception. In addition, the 220-acre sports facility’s athletic fields will be used for quarterback workouts.

With the ESPN Innovation Lab permanently based at the Wide World of Sports, state-of-the-art technical facilities will also allow some QB Camp segments to be edited on-site for same-day turnaround. In addition, uplink capabilities will make it possible for quarterbacks to participate in interviews on ESPN NFL shows, SportsCenter and other programs during their visits.

“Since the Monday Night Football season ended, Jon has been grinding away, preparing lesson plans for QB Camp,” said Jay Rothman, ESPN’s Vice President of Production, who oversees the series. “We have another talented and eager group of players set to visit this spring and we are particularly excited about enhancing our coverage with the tremendous facilities and support available to us at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports.”

Manziel, who spent Thursday with Gruden (photos via ESPN Images), is the first quarterback to visit for QB Camp. An excerpt of his film session will air tonight on the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter. Remaining players are scheduled to work with Gruden in March and April.

Gruden’s QB Camp special on Manziel is scheduled to premiere Thursday, March 27 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), the same day the Aggies quarterback will participate in his individual Pro Day in College Station, Texas. Most QB Camp specials will air on Tuesdays, beginning in late April at 9 p.m. on ESPN. Shows will also re-air on ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft. The entire QB Camp program schedule will be released in March.

2014 Schedule

Aug. 28         @ Minnesota

Sept. 6         Southern Illinois

Sept. 15        @ Illinois State

Sept. 20        Austin Peay *  (Family Weekend)

Sept. 27        @ Ohio

Oct. 4          Open Date

Oct. 11         @ Eastern Kentucky *

Oct. 18         @ Southeast Missouri *

Oct. 25         Tennessee State *  (Homecoming)

Nov. 1          @ Tennessee Tech

Nov. 8          Murray State *

Nov. 15         @ Jacksonville State *

Nov. 22         UT Martin *

* Ohio Valley Conference Game