Wednesday, July 21, 2010

LSC Roundup 7-21

UIW football bracing for first season in Lone Star Conference
David Flores

University of the Incarnate Word football coach Mike Santiago could have been excused for looking a little nervous Tuesday at the Lone Star Conference’s Media Day on the UIW campus.

It’s daunting enough that the Cardinals are jumping into one of the toughest conference in NCAA Division II, Santiago quipped, without him having to see every coach in the conference and some of its top players up close and personal.
“It was a little intimidating, really,” Santiago said. “It was like having the Top 25 here at the same time. I’d rather they come through here one at a time.”

Great expectations for WT squads
Amarillo Globe News

West Texas A&M is the preseason favorite in Lone Star Conference football and volleyball.

West Texas A&M edged out Abilene Christian as the choice to win the LSC South Division football title, according to the LSC preseason poll announced Tuesday.

In volleyball, the Lady Buffs, who captured their fourth straight LSC title last season and were national runners-up, earned 27 first-place votes and 584 points. Abilene Christian was next with 567.

Hounds picked for fourth place in LSC North
Clovis News Journal

RICHARDSON, Texas — Eastern New Mexico University’s football team received two first-place votes and was pegged for fourth place in the seven-team Lone Star Conference North Division this fall in a preseason poll released on Tuesday by the LSC.

The ENMU volleyball squad, meantime, was chosen for last place in the 15-team LSC circuit.
ENMU is moving into the North Division this season in football. Coach Mark Ribaudo said the Greyhounds are looking forward to the competition.

“I think we’re going to be in every game up there and I think we’ve got a chance to win every game,” Ribaudo said. “(The poll is) a nice sign for us, considering some of the team’s haven’t seen us.”

Eskridge voted LSC South preseason player of year
J. Scott Russell
Times Record News

SAN ANTONIO -- Record-setting Midwestern State quarterback Zack Eskridge was the pick as the Lone Star Conference South Offensive Player of the Year while the Mustangs were picked to finish third in the traditionally strong South Division.

The awards and preseason polls were announced Tuesday at the fourth annual Lone Star Conference Media Day on the University of the Incarnate Word campus.

The Defensive Player of the Year is also someone the Mustangs and Wichita Falls-area fans are very familiar with — Abilene Christian junior defensive end Aston Whiteside. The former Vernon star was among Division II leaders last year in sacks and helped the Wildcats eliminate MSU from the D-II playoffs.

Javelinas marked down for 5th place
Greg Rajan
Corpus Christi Caller

— Winning a conference co-championship, making the NCAA playoffs and returning 15 starters apparently doesn’t bring the same respect it used to.

That was the case for the Texas A&M-Kingsville football team on Tuesday, when the Lone Star Conference’s preseason poll was announced and the defending league champions were tabbed to finish fifth in the seven-team South Division.

“You know finishing fifth isn’t going to work in Kingsville, Texas,” Javelinas coach Bo Atterberry said. “There’s a lot of parity in the league (during the) preseason. I’m just excited to get started and find out the truth on the field.”

Northeastern State tabbed fifth in LSC poll
Muskegee Daily Phoenix

Northeastern State is fifth among North Division teams in a Lone Star Conference preseason football poll announced Tuesday.

The RiverHawks trail Texas A&M-Commerce, favored to repeat as LSC North champs. The Lions received first-place votes on 12 of the 19 ballots cast by LSC coaches, sports information directors and various media representatives. TAMC, which was 5-0 in the North last season, totaled 123 points to edge Southeastern Oklahoma, which had 110 points and three first-place votes.

Central Oklahoma (95) was third with two first-place nods. Eastern New Mexico, which moves to the North Division in football for 2010 and 2011 due to the addition of Incarnate Word, got 76 polnts and was fourth, receiving two first-place tallies,  Northeastern State (63 points) was fifth, Southwestern Oklahoma (40) sixth and East Central (25) rounded out the poll.

Angelo State University football tabbed 6th in early poll
San Angelo Standard Times

— The Angelo State football team has been tabbed to finish sixth in the Lone Star Conference’s South Division, according to the annual preseason conference poll released Tuesday.
LSC head coaches, sports information directors and various members of the media participated in the poll, ranking the teams in the South as well as the North divisions.

Voters selected West Texas A&M as the favorite to claim the South title with nine of the 19 possible first-place votes.  The 105 point total was enough to land the Buffaloes at the top of the highly competitive division, where just 21 points separated the top five finishers.

Abilene Christian was a close second with 103 points, Midwestern State came in third with 91, while Tarleton State (87) and Texas A&M-Kingsville (84) rounded out the five.  The Rams were one of just two teams that did not receive first-place votes, as they tallied 42 points to finish ahead of Incarnate Word with 20.

Wildcats defensive standout Whiteside honored; ACU picked 2nd in LSC South
Joey D. Richards
Abilene Reporter News

SAN ANTONIO Preseason awards are nice, thought Aston Whiteside doesn’t put too much stock in them.

Still, the junior defensive end from Abilene Christian University was humbled by being named the Lone Star Conference South Division’s preseason defensive player of the year for the second consecutive year.

“It’s an amazing award, but I don’t really think too much of it,” Whiteside said. “Like my coach says, you can’t really take the cheese just from that preseason award. It’s just a good thing to have, I guess.”

SOSU picked second, ECU 7th in pre-season poll (with video)

Texas A&M-Commerce is the favorite in the North Division and West Texas A&M is the top choice in the South Division, according to the 2010 Lone Star Conference preseason polls announced Tuesday.

The league's preseason polls reflect the opinions of LSC head coaches and sports information directors, plus various media representatives from throughout the region. 

TAMUK's Glover Named 'Good Works' Team Finalist

NORTHBROOK, Ill. - To honor the distinguished group of college football players who stand out for the positive influence they have in their communities, Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) announced the 112 student-athletes nominated for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®. It is the most ever in the 19-year history of the award.

Texas A&M-Kingsville senior safety DeIra Glover (Hempstead/Hempstead HS) was one of only three representatives from the Lone Star Conference on the list. He is a three-year starter on the Javelinas and is actively involved in the community through volunteer efforts.

ACU picked second in volleyball; Hines again tabbed topped defensive player
Joey D. Richards
Abilene Reporter News

SAN ANTONIO — No surprise here. Shawna Hines, the Lone Star Conference’s defensive player of the year last season, is expected to be the conference’s top defensive volleyball player once again this season.

The Abilene Christian University senior was named the LSC preseason defensive player of the year during the LSC’s media day Tuesday at Incarnate Word University. She wasn’t the only Wildcats volleyball athlete to earn a preseason award, either. Ijeoma Moronu was selected as the LSC’s preseason setter of the year.

Zuela Adom of Central Oklahoma was named the preseason offensive player of the year.

The Wildcats were picked second in the LSC preseason poll, behind four-time conference champion West Texas A&M.

LSC's future a hot topic among coaches
Nick Gholson
Times Record News

SAN ANTONIO — It looks like the Lone Star Conference will soon be Okie free.

No East Central. No Southwestern. No Southeastern. That’s for sure.

Central Oklahoma and Northeastern State are also doing everything possible to leave.

So what does the future hold for the teams they are leaving behind? That was an interesting topic of discussion here Tuesday when all the football coaches gathered for LSC media day.

UIW joining Lone Star just as others depart
Chad Peters
San Antonio Express

One by one, Lone Star Conference football coaches took turns at the lectern Tuesday welcoming Incarnate Word into their history-rich conference.

They praised UIW's campus, the host site of this year's annual media-day festivities, and the job coach Mike Santiago did in piloting a first-year program to five victories as an NCAA Division II independent last season.

But with the recent news that as many as five schools could be departing the LSC just as UIW enters the conference, Santiago couldn't help but feel a bit paranoid.

“At first, I was getting a complex,” he joked. “We were coming in, and everybody's leaving.”

Patteson not your typical receiver
ECU Sports Information

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Zack Patteson considers himself to be your not-so-typical wide receiver.  But the East Central University junior-to-be feels like he is a perfect fit in head coach Tim McCarty's pro-style offensive scheme.
"I love this offense because I'm different. I don't fit into that receiver stereotype," said Patteson, who was in attendance during Lone Star Conference Football Media Day activities at Incarnate Word University on Tuesday.
Patteson, who topped all Tiger receivers in catches (36), receiving yards (436) and touchdowns (6) in 2009, is comfortable as ECU's 'H' receiver after earning First Team All-LSC North honors last year.
"I'm not really fast, but I'm physical and love the contact. It's a perfect position for me at 'H' end. I played the slot in high school and we ran the spread," Patteson said. "But with the 'H' you get to be a tight end, fullback or receiver. It's one of the most fun positions, in my opinion, on the field."
If there are shortcomings in Patteson's game, he believes speed is the No. 1 obstacle.
"It's speed and change of direction. I feel like all of my skills need some improvement like better hands and better coordination, but my biggest area of improvement needed is speed," said Patteson.

NWOSU considering move to NAIA  (We didn't write the headline, but it should probably be NCAA, not NAIA)
Chris Dell
Enid News & Eagle

After about 70 years of competing in the NAIA, Northwestern Oklahoma State University is exploring an opportunity to move up to NCAA Division II.

The university announced Tuesday it is working with a Colorado-based consulting firm to complete a review of the school’s athletic program, which consists of 11 sports, to determine if a step up would be feasible.

 Then, if NWOSU decides to immediately go ahead, it will put together an application and submit it to the NCAA Division II Membership Committee by June 1, 2011.

If the application is accepted, the Rangers could become an NCAA probationary member as early as September 2011, possibly joining a newly formed Division II conference with several in-state schools.

“I’m very proud to have served and been a part of the NAIA, but now it’s time to turn the page,” said NWOSU Athletic Director Bob Battisti, who was the men’s basketball head coach for 21 years before moving to his current position in 2007.

 MSU men favored to take soccer title
Times Record News

SAN ANTONIO — Midwestern State has a great soccer tradition. Add the fact that they have some excellent players returning to the pitch this fall and the Mustangs were an easy choice as the preseason favorite in the Lone Star Conference men’s soccer standings.

And from the schools that we didn't have reports for yesterday afternoon with quotes (if available)...
Buffs Top LSC Preseason South Division Football Poll
Lone Star Conference Announces Preseason Football Poll
"We wanted to be a complete team," Carr said. "A team that goes out and plays good football, doesn't beat themselves and is solid everywhere. It's hard to get to that level of play overnight, and I don't think there are any shortcuts. We didn't think that it would take until 2010 - we realistically thought we'd be there in 2008 - but the first two or three years for us were two steps forward and one step back.

"I don't think any coach puts much stock in the preseason polls. I've been the coach of teams that have been picked No. 1 in the conference and been the coach of teams that have been picked last in the conference and it doesn't always end up that way."
“This is a dramatic challenge for a second-year team,” UIW Coach Mike Santiago said to the gathering at the media event held on the Incarnate Word campus.  “Last year we played three Lone Star Conference teams and they were very gracious to us.”
“This is a good football team,” Santiago said about his Cardinals.  “They represent San Antonio and South Texas, and they are growing up.”
A&M-Commerce Picked to Win LSC North Division
Laury Earns Preseason Honor, SE Picked Second

Incarnate Word Arrival Highlights LSC Football Media Day
from the LSC Office
In a summer that has seen plenty of changes throughout collegiate conferences, with more on the horizon, the Lone Star Conference experienced its first set of changes on Tuesday.

The simple fact that LSC Football Media Days were held in San Antonio is a change in itself, and one that seemed to be warmly accepted around the conference.

The addition of the University of the Incarnate Word to the LSC highlighted Tuesday’s event, which was held on the UIW campus and also featured all 14 head coaches as they addressed the media and colleagues.

LSC Commissioner Stan Wagnon said the addition of Incarnate Word, and the presence of San Antonio will immediately bring a positive impact to the conference.

“San Antonio is obviously a big part of the state of Texas and in higher education, that holds true because there are more high school students coming out of San Antonio than any other part of the country,” Wagnon said. “It helps not only Incarnate Word, but the other schools in our conference. It will help all of our schools get more exposure in this market. Also with the population down here, there are a lot of alumni that live down here in San Antonio or in this part of the state. It’s going to give all of our schools a chance to reconnect with our alumni. So we’re just really excited about having them on board.”

After finishing 5-5 in its first season since adding football, UIW is looking for even more success, but second-year head coach Mike Santiago knows it won’t be easy.

“It’s a little unnerving right now to think that two years ago we didn’t have helmets or jerseys and now we’re getting ready to line up against the best conference in the nation,” Santiago said. “But we’re not there yet. We’re getting there. It’s a process and we’re not going to cheat the process.”

While many of the head coaches around the league echoed the sentiments of expecting to compete and win with every game, Santiago says – with a team full of mainly sophomores – he must take a different approach.

“Honestly, we don’t even talk about it,” Santiago said. “What we talk about is getting better every time we come out. If I start talking to these guys about winning and losing . . . I don’t know what’s going to happen. I know we’re going in with nothing but sophomores and guys with just one year of experience. So we know it’s going to be tough. But I’m as excited as I can be because I know we’re going in the right direction.”

Last year, UIW was an independent team but still played three games against LSC opponents, finishing 1-2, including a win over East Central and a heartbreaking loss to Eastern New Mexico in a game the Cardinals led in the final minutes.

But ask both Santiago, and UIW athletic director Mark Papich which game stands out the most, and they both pointed towards a 48-7 loss to Midwestern State, which ended up in a three-way tie for the LSC title and advanced to the NCAA playoffs.

“Against Midwestern, that opening drive, we were right there in position to score had we not lost the ball,” Papich said. “Now that might have woken them up a little. But that game showed our guys that we can hang in there for a while with one of our best teams.”

In fact, Santiago said he knew by the third quarter when MSU pulled away to a 28-7 lead, that his team had nothing left.

“I told one of our assistant coaches, ‘we’re done.’” Santiago said. “These were freshman. They’re young kids and they were spent. They gave all they had and it showed.”

But despite the lopsided final score, Santiago said he saw progress. It carried over into a different attitude the next week in practice and then eventually into the games.

After losing to MSU, the Cardinals lost a tough road game to Langston (Okla.) 17-14, but then went on a roll, winning four straight games, including a dramatic 38-35 overtime finish over Oklahoma Panhandle after trailing 35-7 late in the third quarter.

“Our kids never gave up last year,” Santiago said. “And that’s why I’m very excited about what we’re doing here this year. We’ve got a good group of kids and we’re still learning. We’ve got a ways to go but we’ll keep fighting.”

In his press conference Tuesday, Santiago even joked about his team’s youth, stating the football budget was approved to buy razors for his players, suggesting his young guys are finally “old enough to shave.”

Certainly, the Cardinals have a ways to go before they can fully compete with the top teams in the LSC.

“I hear a lot of these coaches here today talk about rebuilding. Well, we’re still building. And that’s an exciting thing for us. We know last year we played with young kids, but we competed. We got beat up a few times, but we got beat up mostly at the end of games. I’m excited about seeing us improve this year.”

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Lone Star Conference

Angelo State University

Cameron University

Eastern New Mexico University

Texas A&M-Commerce

Tarleton State University

Texas A&M-Kingsville

Texas Woman's College

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

West Texas A&M University

Western New Mexico