HOUSTON, Texas (KTRE) - We learned some details about the Stephen FA. Austin State University Lumberjack football team at the annual Southland Media Day.
The biggest thing is that 2019 will be rough.
“We are not winning a national title this year,” said SFA head football coach Colby Carthel. "We are bringing in about half of what we had when I first walked on campus plus the recruits we had. Some of those guys chose to leave. It does not make them bad people though ... . There’s a lot of transition that has happened in our program,and that’s not easy for coaches, their families, or players,” Carthel said. “We’re taking over a team we didn’t recruit and that poses some interesting challenges. I appreciate the buy-in from our team through our first few months on campus.”
Carthel said it is going to be hard to win a game this season but that is not going to define the team.
“We will get them ready to play,” Carthel said. “We hope to be competitive this year. What success looks like in 2019 for SFA is yet to be determined. We are going in week in and week out to do our best.”
The 2019 Southland Conference Football Preseason Poll was unveiled first thing in the morning and the 'Jacks was picked to finish ninth, ahead of the likes of Northwestern State and Houston Baptist universities.
The Lumberjacks football program received 63 points from Southland’s head coaches and sports information directors, according to Luke Bolanos, SFA’s assistant director of athletic media relations. In comparison, the Northwestern State Demons received 56 points, and Houston Baptist were scored 21 points.
Media Release on standings:
Reigning conference co-champion Nicholls was picked to finish atop the league once again after gaining 20 first-place votes and collecting 200 points. The Bears of Central Arkansas were chosen to finish second with 154 points, while 2018 Southland co-champion the University of the Incarnate Word (150) earned one first-place nod and was picked third.
Sam Houston State (146) was tabbed fourth in the preseason poll as Lamar (123) was chosen to finish fifth, McNeese (114) sixth, Abilene Christian (112) seventh and Southeastern Louisiana (71) eighth. The Wildcats were given the lone remaining first-place vote.
It will be a tough year at the quarterback position. Carthel announced today that presumed starter Jake Blumrick is out of action for most likely the entire year after having two surgeries on his back.
“Injuries are part of the game and they stink,” Carthel said. “They stink for the kids. The team wil be fine. There has been a lot of change. The guys we have are bought in to this team. I think it will be fun to watch these kids grow... [Jake] has character. He was the leader of the team. He has been great through the off season and the summer and the challenges he has overcome. He is going to be a tremendous leader. Hopefully he can get back this year by the end or maybe next year. It will now be a young man’s job. We will have a young guy back there. We will get them coached up and see.”
“I want to just be there is a huge part of it,” Blumerick said. " I want to be there at meeting or when they throw even though I cannot do anything. I have been here three years and I am just trying to give any advice to them so they can take it and run with it."
The 2019 schedule features 12 games for the 'Jacks with the season opener slated for 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31 at the Big 12 Conference’s Baylor in Waco, Texas. SFA will also take on Tarleton State at home (Sept. 7) and Southern Utah on the road (Sept. 14) in non-conference action before beginning its nine-game Southland schedule, which will start Saturday, Sept. 21 versus Nicholls in Nacogdoches. In addition to the 94th Battle of the Piney Woods inside NRG Stadium in Houston against Sam Houston State (Oct. 5) and the 54th Battle for Chief Caddo at Northwestern State in Natchitoches (Nov. 21), the 'Jacks will host McNeese (Oct. 26) for homecoming and Incarnate Word (Nov. 9).