TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute football strapped up their full pads for the first time in training camp Tuesday morning, as the squad begins its’ quest for a second consecutive Liberty League title.

Senior wide receiver Peter Lombardi exudes confidence in a season that had foundational pieces established well before the team reported to campus.

“We have a lot of returning guys, a lot of fifth-year guys, who decided to come back for this program, and that shows a lot about what this program’s about,” said Lombardi. “This season didn’t just start now. It started back in the spring with spring ball, all the work we’ve put in over the summer, and now we’re here finally in camp, which is a relief for all of us to be back.”

The Engineers return 14 starters from a team that went 11-2 in 2021, and reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.

The defense features three players named to the 2022 Preseason All-America teams. Defensive back C.J. Lyons and nose tackle Josh Cohen earned first-team recognition, while linebacker Joe Deptula was named a third-team selection.

On the other side of the ball, RPI’s offense will be led by a number of veteran skill position players, including wide receiver Peter Lombardi, who led the team in receptions and receiving yards last year, and the squad’s leading rusher from 2021, running back Dylan Burnett.

One glaring void to fill will be the quarterback position, following the departure of four-year signal caller George Marinopoulos. While Engineers’ head coach Ralph Isernia is still holding a QB battle, senior Matt Petercuskie and sophomore Jake Kazanowsky are the frontrunners for the job. Petercuskie appeared in seven games last season, and Kazanowsky saw action in two contests.

RPI sits at No. 20 in the preseason poll after last year’s quarterfinal run, but all the preseason hoopla based off the success of the 2021 Engineers means nothing to Isernia.

“That team last year did that. That’s not this team; that’s not how we’re made up,” said Isernia. “That’s not the leadership; those are not the guys that are on the field for us. That was a totally different thing. We don’t get any points, we don’t get any wins, we don’t get…anything for what that team did last year, so that’s in the past. And this team right now, it’s 0-0, and one to go for us; that’s our motto, and that’s how we have to play it.”

The Engineers open up their season at home against Dickinson College on September 3.