Kats to host Indians in season opener

On Saturday the SHSU football team will kick off the 2003 season at home against Midwestern State University. After a disappointing season in which the Bearkats finished with a 4-7 record, head coach Ron Randleman takes a young team and a new defensive scheme headfirst into the start of a new season.The Indians started the season with a 27-12 win over Arkansas Tech on August 28.Last year against Midwestern, the Kats squeaked by with a 26-23 victory. According to Randleman, this year should bring another tough match against a team that plays a similar offensive game.”They are a good team, and we struggled against them last year,” said Randleman. “We both like to throw the ball so it should be interesting.”The biggest change to the team from last year will be the defense. Craig Naivar will take over as defensive coordinator and has implemented a new scheme. In past years they played a traditional 4-3. This year they will play a 4-2-5 defense which will bring extra speed to the field.”Our defense is still young, but we have added more speed with the new scheme,” said Randleman. “We are not that experienced so we are going to have to work hard.”Senior linebacker T.J. Dibble will be the defensive leader and powerhouse for the Bearkats. Last season he led the team in tackles with 93 and is also a returning member of the 2001 team that took the crown in the Southland Conference.On the offensive side of the ball, the squad should be tough to slow down. The line will have three returning starters including juniors Steve Izevbizua, who started all 11 games last year and was named as an honorable mention to the All-Southland Conference, Chris Louvier and senior Broderick Richardson.The Bearkats also plan to bring an explosive group of receivers to the table this season. Last year’s “Most Valuable Back/Receiver,” Vincent Cartwright, should be junior quarterback Travis Tobaben’s favorite target. Last year Cartwright caught 38 balls with 392 receiving yards and three touchdowns.”You never really know what to expect going into a new season,” Randleman said. “We are a little younger than I would have liked, and we are still unproven.”With less than three days before the kickoff of the 2003 season, the Bearkat football team is preparing daily for what should be another battle against Midwestern. Randleman’s team is young; the defense is fresh, but some are skeptical, and expectations are weary.Saturday’s game is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Bowers Stadium, and admission is free to students with a valid Sam Houston identification card. The Kats will begin a three game road trip beginning with Montana on Sept. 13. The next home game will be Thursday, October 9 against Tarleton.

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