Football Bears Open Camp Ready for Challenges of 2010 Season
SPRINGFIELD -- With a returning nucleus of 17 starters and 41 lettermen, the Missouri State football Bears begin preseason practices Wednesday (August 4) at Plaster Field as the squad pursues a common vision for 2010.
Fifth-year head coach Terry Allen says that vision has been the fruits of his staff's hard work the last four seasons.
"It's been a process," said Allen. "We knew coming in we weren't going for the quick fix and wanted to build a team over the years. This will be the best football team at Missouri State since I've been here. How that equates to wins, we'll just have to play the games and see."
Missouri State finished 4-4 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2009 and finished 6-5 overall for Allen's second winning season in a three-year span. Allen's first season at MSU in 2006 saw his squad win just one conference game, and the Bears have increased that total annually, giving him hope for a great result this fall.
"Every year in the league we've won one more game," he said. "If we can win one, maybe two more this year, we can get ourselves in a position where we have a shot at the playoffs, and that's ultimately the goal for us at Missouri State."
Allen's squad will hit the field for the first time at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday as the first of 20 practices before classes resume on August 23.
The 2010 squad will feature preseason All-Americans David Arkin (Sr., OL, Wichita, Kan.) and Antoine Wilkinson (Sr., LB, Magnolia, Miss.) leading their respective units. Arkin is a three-time All-MVFC performer who is ranked as the top offensive lineman in the NCAA Division I FCS ranks, while Wilkinson notched 113 total tackles in 2009 to earn Valley Newcomer of the Year honors and secure the most tackles by a Missouri State player since 2004.
Both Wilkinson and Arkin were announced Wednesday as preseason All-Americans by the FCS Senior Scout Bowl selection committee. The Senior Scout Bowl will be played on Dec. 11 in New York, and the process for selecting participants begins with the All-America list presented by the FCS Senior Scout Bowl (www.fcsseniorbowl.com). The pair represent five players, in addition to Waylon Richardet (Sr., DE, Perryville, Mo.), Cody Kirby (Sr., QB, Rogers, Ark.) and Skylar Smith (Sr., S, Springfield, Mo.) who were recognized by the league as preseason All-MVFC selections on Monday.
The Bears will participate in their annual Media Day activities at Plaster Field on Thursday, beginning with team and group photos at 9:30 a.m. and a press briefing with Allen at 10 a.m. Player interviews and photo opportunities will follow.
Missouri State kicks off the 2010 season on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. against Eastern Kentucky at Plaster Field. Season tickets are available now by calling (417) 836-7678.
The Bears' 2010 preseason practice schedule is as follows. Times and practice locations may change due to weather and other considerations.Practice# - Date - Time 1 - Wednesday, August 4 - 5:30 p.m.
2 - Thursday, August 5 - 3:45 p.m.
3 - Friday, August 6 - 3:30 p.m.
4 - Saturday, August 7 - 9:45 a.m.
5 - Monday, August 9 - 9:45 a.m.
6-7 - Tuesday, August 10 - 8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8 - Wednesday, August 11 - 3:15 p.m.
9-10 - Thursday, August 12 - 8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
11 - Friday, August 13 - 2:45 p.m.
12 - Saturday, August 14 - 3:00 p.m. (Scrimmage #1)
13-14 - Monday, August 16 - 8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
15 - Tuesday, August 17 - 3:15 p.m.
16-17 - Wednesday, August 18 - 8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
18 - Thursday, August 19 - 3:15 p.m.
19 - Friday, August 20 - 3:15 p.m.
20 - Saturday, August 21 - 9:45 a.m. (Scrimmage #2)