Football taking season one game at a time

Ethan Metcalf

Jake Glover, a junior in accounting, looks for an open receiver on the practice field Tuesday. Last season he played in five games and saw playing time in the playoff game in Indianapolis.
Jake Glover, a junior in accounting, looks for an open receiver on the practice field Tuesday. Last season he played in five games and saw playing time in the playoff game in Indianapolis.

The football team is revving its engine to pick up steam where the team fell short last season.

After wining the 2012 Lone Star Conference Championship in a heated overtime match against West Texas A&M, the team went on to drop its first playoff game against Indianapolis University, the fourth year in a row that they lost in the first round.

According to a release Monday afternoon, the American Football Coaches’ Association NCAA Division II Preseason Poll had the team ranked No. 15.

In a 2011 poll, the AFCA ranked the team fourth.

Regardless of rankings, Head Football Coach Bill Maskill said this season’s success is dependent on growing together as a team and building solid foundations.

“Well the first thing is, we’ve got to mature,” Maskill said. “It’s due to lack of experience as a team.”

The team will welcome back starters Bryan Keith, left guard, Mark Strange, tight end, and Keidrick Jackson, running back.

“He’s [Jackson] going to be as good as our offense is,” Maskill said, “The quarterback’s got to perform, and the line’s got to perform.”

Maskill said he will select a quarterback during the first week of school unless there is a big difference between contenders Jake Glover and Shavodrick Beaver during two-a-days.

The team has two main goals to accomplish in their three remaining weeks of practice, Maskill said.

“[Our goals are] to mature and improve every day, and then come together as a team,” he said. “But we’ve got to get better at the game. We’ve got to improve every day.”

Maskill also said intense training and focus during the preseason will be the ultimate keys to success in the upcoming regular season.

“Right now, our goal is to have a good two-a-days,” Maskill said. “Once we get out of that, we’ll take it one day at a time as we get through the first week of school, and then we’ll start to prepare for Tarleton.”

Many of the players have set big goals for the team, but they also realize having a successful season requires taking the appropriate steps.

Senior defensive back Bernarnd Griffin said the team is more focused than they were last year, which is what they need to be successful in the playoffs.

“We need to come out here with determination and have the right mindset to be better,” Griffin said. “We preach that every day to everybody, freshman to seniors.”

Graduate student CJ Steward, a first-year linebacker who transferred from Kent State, said even though he just arrived at MSU, he is on the same page as the rest of the team—win the national championship.

“We won the Lone Star Conference so many years in a row that everybody is coming together, and the freshman are going to get to understand that we need them too to make it to the top,” Steward said. “To get to the national championship, we need everybody on our team.”

Steward also realizes that the team must take it one game at a time to improve its chances of making it all the way.

“When we get to that stage [the playoffs] we have to make sure we do everything we’re supposed to do,” Steward said. “Our coaches know us well enough to know where we’re supposed to be, and they never put us in the wrong place. We just have to make sure we do it as players to make sure we win the game.”

Stuart said that players and coaches aren’t worrying too much about the past to focus on the bigger picture for the upcoming season.

“They don’t really talk about the game from last year too much,” he said. “It’s in the past; we have to look forward to move forward.”