OAKLAND CITY, Ind. (WEHT) – College football is back in southwestern Indiana. But it’s not your normal gridiron. Oakland city is prepared for week one of their sprint football season.
The difference in sprint football is that players have to be under 178 pounds to play. Many people aren’t familiar with the sport, and neither was Mighty Oaks head coach Todd Miller when he was offered the job.
“At first I didn’t know about sprint football because I had never coached it,” said Miller.
Miller said taking a job at OCU was an unique opportunity.
“This was the only job I’ve taken where there wasn’t a football on campus when I got here. When you talk about building a program from the ground-up, it’s completely from the ground-up,” said Miller.
The reason that OCU went with a sprint football program is location. There are more programs close by than traditional football in the Midwest Sprint Football League.
The sports play almost identical, but the main difference is that players have to weigh in. Unlike wrestling, if you’re overweight, you can’t play at all.
That’s made Miller alter his recruiting to make sure the players he signs can make the weight limit when they get to college.
“Before I looked at these 210-pounders. Now there’s no way that we can do that. It’s too much weight to lose,” said Miller.
Wide receiver, Bryton Suggs, said that there’s team pressure to make weight.
“You have to focus on yourself if you want to play. You’ll find a way to make weight,” said Suggs.
The weight limit puts players like Bosse graduate, Jaiden Thomas on an even playing field.
“Everybody is around the same weight as me. So I feel like I’ll be able to dominate more,” said Thomas.
The sport gives smaller players an opportunity to play at the next level.
“Other universities may not recruit a 6’2″, 185 pound left tackle. It gives those guys an opportunity to keep playing ball, get an education, and get some scholarship,” said Miller.
Now those players will take the field for the first time against Bellarmine at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be played at Wood Memorial.