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OU Braves football team has same goals, expectations

By Sara Humm
On August 31, 2010

KCAC champions. 11-1 win/loss record. National playoffs appearance. All achievements by the 2009 Ottawa University football team.

The 2010 team is different than the 2009 team, said OU football head coach Kent Kessinger.

"We are a different team this year, but we have the same goals," Kessinger said. "We talked early on that we are not the 2009 team, but we will achieve goals our own way."

This year the football team starts the season ranked ninth in the NAIA football coaches' preseason poll. Last year the team began the season ranked 22nd in the preseason poll.

According to the NAIA web site, "the poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents." The teams move in the poll depending on the outcome of each week's game.

With a good season last year and a high ranking in the preseason poll, expectations may be high.

"There is a certain level of expectation and we are going to get everyone's number one game," Kessinger said.

Even though there are expectations, players still have personal and team goals they want to focus on.

"I want to stay in the weight room, be a better football player and be a leader to the team," junior cornerback Quintin Lilienthal said.

Other players also have goals for the year.

"I want to give my best and be a team player," senior defensive tackle D.J. Grayson said.

Having skills on the field may not be the only important aspect to the game.

"We've had good team bonding so far, it's the best I've ever see for any team I've been on," Lilienthal said.

When it comes to pressure, Kessinger had a word of advice for his players, "compare yourself to yourself, not what others want to see."

Even though pressure may be present, giving their all is what is on some player's minds.

"We expect to go out and give our best," Grayson said. "We will give maximum effort on every play."

Even though players have their own goals, the coach has seasonal goals set as well.

"We want to build upon what we've established the last few years and continue to be a successful program," Kessinger said.

The 2010 OU football team already has a head start on their competition in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. Saturday, they beat rival Baker University for the first win of the year, 24-14. The Braves will travel to Newton, Kan. Sept. 11 to face the Bethel College Threshers.

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