NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The two-time defending Southland Conference Champion Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack football team took to the field Wednesday morning for its first workout of the spring. The 'Jacks hit the field in the cool temperatures at 7 a.m. to begin preparations for a third consecutive run at the SLC title.
SFA will have some shoes to fill in 2011 if it hopes for a repeat performance. Among the Lumberjacks standouts that have exhausted their eligibility are All-Americans Kenneth Charles, Jeremy Moses and Jabara Williams, in addition to all-conference selection Andre Banks.
Williams has been a leader on the Lumberjack defense for the past four seasons, finishing among the league leaders in tackles for the past three years. The three-time first-team All-SLC selection closed out his career by earning conference defensive player of the year honors and was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award for a second consecutive season.
Along with Williams, Charles and Banks helped turn the Lumberjack defense into the top unit in the league. An interior lineman his whole career, Charles was moved to end as a senior where he turned in an All-America performance and was among the nation's leaders in tackles for losses and sacks. Banks was a standout in the Lumberjack secondary each of the past two seasons, and was named the league newcomer of the year following the 2009 season.
The Lumberjacks will only have to replace one starter on offense, but it is a huge loss. Moses leaves SFA as the school and conference's all-time leader in completions, passing yards, touchdown passes and yards of total offense. Moses wrapped up his career by setting a new NCAA FCS record for completions, being named to several All-America teams and becoming the first player in Southland history to win the Walter Payton Award.
In addition to Moses, the Lumberjacks will also have a new offensive coordinator for the 2011 season. Former coordinator Shannon Dawson left to become the quarterback coach at West Virginia, and has been replaced by Mike Nesbitt, who spent the previous four seasons in Canyon, Texas as receivers and quarterbacks coach before being named offensive coordinator in 2010.
During his time with the Buffaloes, Nesbitt directed an offense that averaged 529 yards of total offense, including 423 through the air. West Texas finished the year ranked second in the nation in passing and total offense, and third in the country in scoring offense.
The Lumberjacks will return to the practice field Friday for their second workout of the spring. The practice is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m.