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AGGIES GO OLD SCHOOL FOLLOWING DEFEAT IN MISSOURI, FACE NAIA POWER IN HOME OPENER

Posted Friday, September 18, 2009 by staff
What do you do after a 54-7 route early in the season? 
If you are the OPSU Aggies, you roll up your sleeves and go back to work.
“We don’t feel that the score was reflective of the effort by our players. We are not as bad as that score might  indicate, nor is Truman State as good as the score might show.” Stated Aggie head football coach Mike Wyatt.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Truman State. They won the game and looked good in the process, but we also handed them 30 points on a silver platter. We had a safety, a ‘pick-six’ interception return for a TD and a ‘scoop and score’ on a fumble return for a TD. So, we certainly helped their cause.” Added Wyatt.
Facing an open week, the Aggies donned full pads for more consecutive days than they had in pre-season.
“We went back to work on fundamentals and we had some contact in practices. We worked to become a more physical football team on both sides of the ball. We also went a lot of first offense vs. first defense in hopes of making ourselves physically tougher.” Wyatt stated.
Having come off a narrow loss and a greater margin of defeat, the Aggie morale still remains high. The players have a sense that they are an improved football team over the past and are anxious to get back on the field to prove it.
The team will get that chance this Saturday at 6PM at Carl Wooten Field as them host the # 8 ranked NAIA power Langston University Lions. The Lions are coming off a 15 point loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff, a NCAA I FCS school.   Ironically, the Lions had 8 turnovers in the game and only lost by 15 points.
“Langston will be a talented team and we will have to play our best football to  have a chance against the Lions. They have speed all over the field and have the ability to make things happen in all three phases of the game.” Stated Wyatt.
The Lions finished 10-3 last season, losing to two NCAA I FCS schools and a NAIA playoff game to the University of Sioux Falls. Greg Johnson, who had been an Aggie assistant coach, in years past has done a great job in building a NAIA power in his 11th season at Langston, having put together a 68-48 record in that time.
The Lions return 7 offensive starters from last season including their entire offensive line and running backs. The key spots that they have had to fill are at quarterback and wide receiver, but with 11 years into the program, those are places where the Lions will just “re-load”.
Defensively, the Lions only return 3 starters, having lost 8 starters and the defensive coordinator during the off-season. However, Johnson, will take over the duties of coordinating his own defense. The strong similarity between his defense from last season to this is that all players swarm to the football.
“Langston has built their program around speed. They run well on both sides of the football and they have quality athletes at all positions.” Wyatt noted.
The Aggies, as has been their trademark over the last couple of seasons, have displayed a solid defense and an offense seeking their identity. Improvements have been made, but are they enough to compete with a high nationally ranked NAIA team.
“That’s why you play the game. We certainly respect Langston and all they have done to get their program to the level of prominence. But, every week in college football there are upsets. Look what  Houston did to Oklahoma State who were coming off a huge win over Georgia. We’ve told our players that each week we have an opportunity to become a better football team. We get nine more chances this season and are anxious to see how we measure up.” Added Wyatt.

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