Division I powerhouse Middlebury returned to the gridiron on Thursday morning in full pads to prep for the 2021 campaign.

The Tigers have had a lot of success the past decade. From 2011-2019 the Tigers made a playoff run every single season. Head coach Dennis Smith noted that the majority of the Tigers roster didn’t play last season due to the 7-on-7 touch format.

Midd is eager to get back to work and run the ball the way they’re used to. In 2020, teams were forced to pass due to limited contact.

“Getting back to our basics of running option because that’s just so many reps we’ve got to take in practice. Getting back to speed on that planed especially my sophomore quarterback. Last year, we never ran option in practices so now it’s getting back to that game speed where we were two years ago” said Smith.

Senior captains Nikolai Luksch and Sam Warren both shared the excitement all of the players have to finally return to real football.

“Being out here again is awesome. Everyone is really stepping up. The hitting part is great but just coming down here every morning doing what we love to do” said Luksch.

Warren added that being able to practice all together and having the ability to go up to the drawing room really adds to the brotherhood of Middlebury football.

The Tigers open the season on the road at Fair Haven on Friday, Sept. 3 kickoff is set for 7 p.m.