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|Daye rebuilding at Missouri Southern|
Missouri Southern head football coach and Huntington graduate Daryl Daye compares his first year as Lion head coach to his first year at Nicholls State.
"It's similar to Nicholls in that we have to build from the ground up," said Daye, whose 2003 Colonel team broke 32 school records and played for the first ever Southland Conference championship. The Colonels finished that year ranked 32nd nationally and were among the top 45 percent in NCAA Division I-AA attendance. His quarterback Josh Son became the All-Time leading rusher in Colonel History.
Daye led the Colonels to a four-win turnaround in 2002 as the team finished 7-4 and ended the season ranked in the Division I-AA top 25.
"We came in and instilled a lot of discipline, wanting our guys to do things right," Daye said. "Those who bought into it decided to stay. But we have 72 new players and 40 of them are signees. I'm excited about this group and ready for them to hit the field."
Missouri Southern was picked to finish 10th by the coaches and 11th by the media in the preseason MIAA Football Poll.
Southern finished eighth a season ago, but was picked 10th by the coaches and 11th by the media in the poll. The Lions return six starters on offense and eight on defense.
Named preseason All-Americans are seniors Brandon Williams and Landon Zerkel.
Both were tabbed as All-Americans a season ago after Zerkel led the league in receptions and receiving yards and Williams was in the top five in numerous defensive categories.
"We have scouts all over the place checking Brandon out," Daye said. "He'll be a top draft choice. I actually recruited him when I was here before."
At the top of both othe rpolls is defending national champion Pittsburg State. PSU earned all but three of the first place votes in the coaches poll and all but 12 votes in the media poll.
The coaches tabbed Northwest Missouri to finish second and the Bearcats picked up two first place votes.
Missouri Western was third with a single first place vote, while Washburn, Central Missouri, Nebraska-Kearney and Emporia State round out the top seven places in the league.
Lindenwood, Northeastern State, Southern, Fort Hays, Central Oklahoma, Southwest Baptist, Truman and Lincoln round out the coaches poll.
The Lions kick off their season on August 30 at 7 pm at Central Oklahoma.
"We like being the underdog," Daye said. "We're going to be competitive and our guys are going to get after it."
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