The Pitt State football team began practicing on Friday, August 9 for the 2019 season which begins in early September.
Head Coach Tim Beck hopes to see the team improve this season.
“Well, I mean we finished up the season last year at eight and three and I was very disappointed in that,” Beck said. “We are hoping to improve and trying to just get everybody headed in the right direction and get ready for our September fifth game against UCO.”
The football team gained several new members this season.
“Well, every year the team takes on its own personality,” Beck said. “So, it is one of those things where we have (another) group of guys and (we) lost some good leadership last year so we are looking for guys to step up in new leadership roles. We got quite a bit of experience back on the defensive side of the ball. Again, this is such a tough league that it’s one of those things where you just got to take everything one game at a time.”
The Gorillas were picked third in the MIAA coaches and media polls on Wednesday, July 31.
“We don’t put a whole lot in that (being picked in the poll),” Beck said. “The year we won the national championship we were picked fifth. So, it’s one of those things where it’s more kind of off of how everybody did last year. (That’s) usually where they vote you in at. So, we don’t put a lot of thought into that other than just try to go out there every single day and improve ourselves.”
The Pitt State football program was ranked number 45 over 150 years in a list by ESPN. The list was comprised of all levels of college football and Pittsburg State was the only program in the NCAA Division II that was selected.
“… I think that’s a great honor and the fact that we were the only Division–II school selected,” Beck said. “It just shows you the rich tradition that we have here at Pittsburg State and the fact that Pittsburg State’s been a good football program for many, many years. So, it’s a good honor to be part of that and (I am) very proud of that fact. Our players just need to understand how we need to put our mark on that and improve on it as well.”
The first football game of the season is against the University of Central Missouri on Thursday, Sept. 5 in Edmond, Oklahoma.
“Well, the big thing is we want to make sure we understand how good our opponent is,” Beck said. “University of Central Oklahoma is a very good football team. They were as good as anybody towards the end of last year and got a lot of good players back. But we just need to play good, solid football and I think the biggest thing in the early games is you want to win the penalty battle and try not to make many mistakes and then also not turn the ball over. Those are two really important keys in the first game is playing mistake free if you can and then not turn the ball over. So, if you can do those two things, it gives you a pretty good chance.”