FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – As the UNA football team gets ready to open its season in just one week, it also marks a new era in Florence. Brent Dearmon was hired as the new head coach in December and now is getting ready to coach his first game.

“It’s a tough waiting game, and eight months ago you feel like it’s never going to get here, and you blink and now we’re [7] days out,” Dearmon said. “We’ve got to make sure we cross all of our T’s, dot all of our I’s in these next couple of practices and make sure that we are ready for any situation that may come up in the first game but I feel like our guys are ready to go, our coaching staff is bringing tons of energy every day and so it’s here.”

Dearmon brought in a whole new coaching staff and they’ve brought a lot of energy back to this program, and Dearmon said he can feel the entire community is now excited about the upcoming season.

“You know I think it’s easy to be excited when you haven’t lost a football game yet, right now we’re undefeated so we’re riding that wave of excitement,” the coach said. “We’ve done a really good job, in my opinion, on our social media of pushing things, we’ve got our players out and about in the community, we’ve been to three different churches over the past three Sundays and put our face in the community as well so I think there’s a great buzz going on in the Shoals area right now.”

One of the biggest storylines during fall camp was the quarterback competition, but Dearmon said every position is up for grabs, and his players have done a good job giving it their all every day.

“Our coaches are doing a really good job of moving the roster up and down every day. One guy may be a starter one day, maybe a backup the next day so it just makes you stay on your toes, makes you realize that you can’t just show up one day and not be as good, you’ve got to be consistent and bring it every single day or you’ll have an opportunity to lose your spot so having that rotating depth chart every day really helps out,” Dearmon said.

UNA is one of the first teams to hit the field in 2023, playing in Montgomery against Mercer for week zero, and Dearmon said he’s excited to his players and this program to get that opportunity.

“It’s a great opportunity for us, it’s a great opportunity for our whole school, I mean UNA is going to be on ESPN when there’s only six other games that weekend, but it’s also a great way to see where we need to improve at early in the year in a nonconference game so we can make those adjustments and get ready for the conference the next few weeks,” Dearmon said. “It’s really tough to tell when you go against each other every day, you don’t know how good you are, you don’t know where your deficiencies truly are when you’re playing against yourself every day so a lot of the things that we’re going to figure out in that first game are sometimes things you don’t expect because you don’t really know until you snap in that first snap in a game against another opponent.”

UNA opens the 2023 season on August 25 in Montgomery against Mercer in the FCS kickoff game. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.