KANSAS CITY — When the 2019 football season begins both Pitt State and Missouri Southern will be on opposite ends of the spectrum, and the coach’s press conferences at MIAA media reflected that tone Wednesday.
For Pitt State it’s about making those improvements to be able to go and chase that next national title.
“We felt like we had a good football team last year,” Pitt State head coach Tim Beck said. “We were 8-3 and had a couple of games where we did not play very well, and I think our guys are extremely motivated to show that we could be better than 8-3. What’s happened in the past, whether it’s winning a lot of games or how you ended up last year, it’s in the past. It’s time now to take this new team, start from day one and make sure that we’re all on the same page, and take things one game at a time.”
The Gorillas will also have to answer questions about their quarterback position, after the departure of John Roderique. Both B.J. Bradbury and Matt Harman split time last season for the Gorillas, but there are also a few other players that have been battling for the spot as well.
“We have four quarterbacks that are fighting it out for the starting spot. We don’t put a huge emphasis on it being the starting quarterback. But we are a little unsure of what B.J.. Bradbury’s sitaution is from last season. I’m not sure that we will know until middle of August, and we probably won’t name a starting quarterback until the end of August.”
For Missouri Southern it’s simple, rebuild a culture in which the team has not won many games over the past few years,
“I think your goal should be to be a champion,” Missouri Southern head coach Jeff Sims said. “When the guys talk about things being different in the locker room or at practice, I want them to experience what it is like to walk off the field and feel success. I believe that those habits are created so that they can be successful in life.”
Southern returns nine starters, including All-MIAA defensive lineman Levi Marlay. Coach Sims believes to be able to get to a next level, the team needs to be held to a better mindset and attitude. It’s something he said he’s started to see.
“When we first got there, they were used to a certain way, and we’ve changed that way, and I would tell you that the first semester was hard. The best thing for us has been the summer because we’ve had an influx of guys who didn’t know the old way. So now they just think this is how it is, and we’re going to keep raising the bar, and they’re going to keep working hard. We see great things in our guys, so we expect them to raise it to that level, and be the best that they can be.”
Pitt State has been tabbed to finish third in both the coaches and media preseason polls. Southern has been tabbed to finish tenth in both as well.
The Gorillas will open their season September 5, on the road against Central Oklahoma. The Lions will start their season at home against Nebraska Kearney.