CHARLESTON -- The Eastern Illinois University football coaching staff had a lot of video to look at before the Panthers season-opener against Indiana State University at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Curt Mallory is in his first season as the head coach at Indiana State after spending 22 years as an assistant coach. Mallory came from the University of Wyoming where he was the defensive coordinator and secondary coach. Mallory brought in Jeff Hecklinski to be the offensive coordinator, who was previously at the University of Illinois, and Brad Wilson, who was at NCAA Division II Wayne State, as the team's defensive coordinator.
"You just research coaches and you try and find film of when they were coaching at this school or that school and it's a variety of film because you are talking Big Ten and D-II," EIU coach Kim Dameron said. "You have to kind of find info where you can. It makes it tough. ... We will adjust as the game progresses if we need to do something drastically. But the things we do offensively and defensively I think will be sound and solid no matter what scheme they come up with."
EIU travels to Indiana State for a 6 p.m. game on Thursday at Memorial Stadium in Terre Haute, Ind.
Since the Panthers can't pin down exactly what ISU is going to do on Thursday, they are going to focus on themselves more than the Sycamores. The last couple of season openers, both against WIU, were mistake-prone affairs. So Dameron is looking for his team to clean things up in this season-opener.
"We are just trying to be as good as we can be and do the things that we do," Dameron said. "Both of the games against Western Illinois we turned the ball over. We moved it, but we turned it over and gave up big turnovers. The three things we need to do, not give up big plays on defense, make sure we protect the ball on offense and not have turnovers and we need to limit early mistakes like penalties and things like that."
One person EIU has tape on is ISU junior quarterback Isaac Harker, who returns after starting all 10 games last season and was named All-Missouri Valley Football Conference honorable mention. But after passing for 2,559 yards and 19 touchdowns, Harker was in a battle for his spot in preseason camp. It didn't take long for Harker to keep his starting spot when Mallory named him the No. 1 quarterback a couple of weeks ago.
"The film that I've watched is last year's (Southeast Missouri State) game," Dameron said. "You want to know to expect and what kind of arm strength he's got and what kind of throws he's got. That kind of stuff."
Dameron recently named quarterback Mitch Kimble, defensive backs Bradley Dewberry and Tray Mitchell, tight end Addison Bounds and center Louis Vailopa, all seniors, as the captains this season.
"Great group of seniors. All of them are real solid players, solid people, solid students," Dameron said. "They really represent this program. Some of them got here as transfers and some five years. It's a good group, a close-knit group. If I have a question about what the team would think, those are the guys I would go to."