By competing in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), a group of some of the most prestigious colleges in the nation, Middlebury has associated itself with schools possessing similar educational philosophies and athletic goals. Yes, there is a winning tradition at Middlebury, but more importantly, football has always been viewed as a unique educational opportunity in which the athlete is able to explore the limits of his own ability. In an era in which so many colleges have removed football from the educational sphere, Middlebury still plays the game as it was intended to be played. Football provides the student with an opportunity for fun, excitement, and a special brand of camaraderie. A large number of players also play a second sport, placing Middlebury in a unique position in this age of forced specialization. The Middlebury athlete continues to demonstrate that the pursuit of excellence on the football field is totally compatible with the pursuit of excellence in the classroom, and that combining the two pursuits can be a rewarding and exciting experience.
The offense is a wide-open and freewheeling one, built around multiple formations and an equal blend of passing and running. The offense depends on talented athletes at all skill positions, who work behind a tough, physically dominant, offensive line. The passing game utilizes an equal amount of play action, dropback, and sprint out passes, while the running game integrates a combination of direct action, counters, and option plays. All this leads to an action-packed, explosive, crowd-pleasing offense.
DEFENSE: MULTIPLE SEVEN-MAN FRONT
Known for their aggressive, pursuit-oriented defense, the Panthers employ a multiple seven-man front and a four-deep secondary. The front evolves from a three-four scheme, utilizing three defensive linemen and four linebackers. Regardless of the front, the defense uses a wide range of stunts and blitzes to keep the opposing offense off balance. Intensity and pursuit have become trademarks of the Panther defensive team, whose athletes always play with reckless abandon.