MSU Football Season Preview

Midwestern State University football didn't have the finish they wanted last season, dropping their final two games to finish 7-3.

This year, they're aiming to return to the top of the conference, but they say they'll need to be more steady than they've been so far in training camp.

Right now, it's hard to say which unit is further ahead.

"Depends on the day," said Head Coach Bill Maskill. "One day we're up, one day we're down. One day it's offense, one day it's defense."

Most coaches in most sports preach consistency. That may be a luxury Coach Maskill and his staff won't have this season. With a very young team, especially on defense and at key positions on the offense, there will need to be some learning on the job this year.

"We've got some kids that are gonna play that haven't played, that we're counting on, that are new players," Maskill said.

The Mustangs need to replace both starting offensive tackles, and star running back Keidrick Jackson, who graduated after rushing for over 4,000 yards in his career.

But they do have experience at quarterback, with senior Jake Glover. After splitting snaps last season with Shavodrick Beaver, he fought off a challenge from sophomore Quade Coward to win the starting job this fall.

"Just fighting with these guys every day," Glover said of what makes him better than last year. "Competition breeds success, breeds better play, and breeds inspired play. So just competing every day has been great for us."

"He's got a lot more poise in the pocket, and a lot more feeling," says junior linebacker Daniel Laudermilk. "Also, when he puts his head down and wants to run the ball, he's a lot more decisive."

The biggest key to Glover's success this season will be that word again-- consistency. Especially for a quarterback, it's a huge part of the game.

"Since I've started playing this position for Coach Maskill, he's always preached consistency, consistency. 'You can't be the guy unless you're consistent,'" Glover said, quoting his coach. "I think I've made a lot of strides to consistently make the right decision."

On defense, the Mustangs have just four returning starters, but they're well spread out. There is one each on the defensive line, at linebacker, cornerback and safety. The returning linebacker is Laudermilk, who was MSU's leading tackler last season with 66 total.

"We have a lot of speed [this year]," Laudermilk said. "Last year was more about collective strength and speed, this year it's more speed."

His head coach tends to agree.

"We run well on defense, and probably our team speed is the strongest suit that we have," Maskill said. "But again, we've got a lot of guys that haven't played. We've got some injured guys that are probably out of shape, and it's just going to be a work in progress all year long, I think."

The Mustangs will open the season Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium, taking on the Miners of Missouri S&T. It will be Military Appreciation Day.