Having high expectations can bring with it a lot of stress. For the Morningside College football team high expectations are the norm and are much better than the alternative -- not being good.
Morningside is number-one in the NAIA preseason poll, after losing the national championship game in overtime, to finish 13-1. The Mustangs have nine starters back on offense, after setting school records for passing, rushing and scoring.
Former Heelan and Hawkeye running back Brandon Wegher is also in the backfield.
Morningside has to find a replacement for quarterback Joel Nixon, who threw 49 touchdown passes. Crofton's Christian Nohr and ju-co transfer Ryan Kasdorf are battling for the job.
"As a receiver, for me, it's really enjoyable playing in this offense," said senior Joel McCabe. "I get to catch the ball and I also get to move down and get nitty-gritty with the o-lineman so that's always a positive."
"We know each week we're going to get everyone's best. They're out to beat number one," said senior Kyle Schuck. "It kind of gives us more motivation to go out there and do what we need to do and finish business from last year."
Morningside has just five starters back from a defense that led the nation in scoring defense, giving up just 13 points per game with three shutouts.
Leading tackler Aaron Roberg returns after 121 stops.
With so many lopsided wins in 2012, everyone got to play, so there is a lot of experience coming back.
"We've got guys with experience," said head coach Steve Ryan. "To actually be counted on in critical moments and critical times, that's to be figured out and that's to be learned. That's a fun part of coaching and watching young men play."
"There's a handful of guys that have actually started here and there," said linebacker Aaron Roberg. "They played a lot in different packages as well. We've got a couple of big time transfers coming in too that are going to help us out immediately."
Morningside opens the season at home against Valley City State of North Dakota on Saturday, September 7th. The Mustangs have a 17-game winning streak in the regular season.
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