By Coleman Swierc
HOUSTON, TX (KTRE) - The best players and coaches in the Southland Conference gathered for media day Tuesday afternoon. Despite a winless season last year by Stephen F. Austin, there is no lack of respect from other players and coaches around the conference.
"S.F.A. can beat anybody," Sam Houston quarterback Rhett Bomar says. "Anybody can win in this conference. You have to play hard every Saturday or you will get beat."
"There were several times last year that they played good teams right to the wire," Sam Houston head coach Todd Whitten says. "We have great respect for Stephen F. Austin."
Players and coaches may say they respect the Jacks, but they didn't show it in the preseason polls. S.F.A. was picked last in the coaches and SID's preseason polls. Only two Jacks received all conference honors. Defensive end Tim Knicky and linebacker Jabara Williams were second team selections.
"It is not any way, shape or form a lack of respect," McNeese Head Coach Matt Viator says. "We know what kind of program S.F.A. has had through the years. J.C. Harper is a good friend of mine, we have worked together, and he is a very good football coach."
Knicky says be don't underestimate the Jacks this season. S.F.A. receiver Duane Brooks says the Jacks will play entertaining offense.
"It is going to be very exciting, a lot of big plays," Brooks says. "A lot of fast scoring, not many long drives, it will almost turn into a 3 and out, 3 and score type of offense."
"It is something that you see once a year," Texas State head coach Brad Wright says. "And it is hard to get good at defending it in one week, and that is the advantage that they are going to have."
S.F.A. will put their new team and their new attitude on the field coming up August 4th when they open fall practice. They open the season at home on August 28th against Langston.
SLC Preseason Coaches Poll
1. McNeese State (7) 49
2. Sam Houston St. (1) 38
3. NW State 35
4. Central Arkansas 34
5. Nicholls State 26
6. Texas State 22
7. SE Louisiana 13
8. S.F.A. 7
SLC Preseason SID Poll