The Wayne State football team had their sixth straight winning season last year but a 6-5 record didn't make anyone happy.
Head coach Dan McGlaughlin starts his ninth season with the Wildcats with 17 returning starters. Senior running back Charlie Davidson was the Northern Sun Conference Offensive Newcomer of the Year -- with nearly 900 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Zach Osborn of Harlan won the starting quarterback job in the spring.
McGlaughlin says the key to success will be in the trenches.
"Every great football team that I've ever coached has had an outstanding offensive line. Every single one," said McGlaughlin. "I think that's the core of the game. I really do. If you're good up front, I think you have a chance to be good everywhere. And we have an outstanding offensive line. So that is the reason, really, for my optimism."
One of those lineman is sophomore guard Taylor Jensen. The South Sioux City grad was thrown into action as a true freshman and held on to his starting spot.
Junior defensive end Jeff Van Den Top of Boyden-Hul/Rock Valley was a second-team all-conference pick last year.
"Six and five isn't good enough, that's for sure," said Van Den top. "I think everybody put in the work during the offseason. We're going to be a lot better. I think we got some new guys, everybody came together as a team a little bit more and we got a new defense so I think we'll be a lot better."
"It definitely helps a lot having that year under my belt," said Jensen. "I can help younger guys and stuff with the mental problems. If they're having a bad day, I can always tell them, 'Hey, I've been through it. Just keep going and you'll be fine.'"
The Wayne State logo was being finished on the brand new field turf at Cunningham Field, part of a $1.3 million dollar stadium upgrade.
The Wildcats open the season on September 7 at Northern State. The home opener is September 14th against the University of Mary from North Dakota.
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