The college football season took flight two weeks ago, but the Georgetown Tigers are still awaiting clearance for takeoff.
Not that Coach Bill Cronin is complaining.
"It has been nice to have the extra time to get everyone ready," said Cronin, who is entering his 18th season at Georgetown. "We graduated a number of offensive linemen and it has been good to take the extra time to get these guys game-ready."
The Tigers, ranked 12th in NAIA, play their season opener at Toyota Stadium in Georgetown at 1:30 p.m. Saturday against Bethel University.
The downside to Georgetown's late start is that it will have to play 10 straight games with no bye week.
Bethel, a Mid-South Conference opponent from McKenzie, Tenn., is 0-2, having lost to William Penn 52-13 and Kentucky Christian 30-9.
The Tigers lost Dustin Brown, Kevin Connaughton, Wes Smith, Sam Schulte, Aaron Wilson and Jake Buchanan off an offensive line that protects veteran quarterback Neal Pawsat, a senior from Mason County.
"That is a lot of experience to lose off one line, but I've been really pleased with how it is all coming along in spring training and now preseason," Cronin said.
Randall Jackson-Clemons, who last season made the transition from defensive line to offensive line, is back at tackle. Elliot Rust and center Tyler Brooks also saw action on the line last season. Mitchell Wessel and James Hill are the newest starters up front.
Ben Patenaude, Clay Kesterson and Joe Ganci are back as main targets for Pawsat, while Demonte Smith lines up as the running back.
"We are excited about Demonte," Cronin said. "He brings a little bit of a different style at the running back position than we have seen the past few years."