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Morningside College

The Mustangs enter the 2013 season on a 16-game conference win streak after a perfect 9-0 season last year. Morningside has lost some key pieces from last season’s NAIA Runner-Up finisher, but history shows that shouldn’t be a concern entering the 11th season under direction of Steve Ryan. The most notable loss will be Joel Nixon, who threw the ball for more than 3,800 yards and 49 touchdowns last season. Christian Nohr played well in limited time last year as the backup, completing 60 percent of his passes and a couple touchdowns. The offense returns nine starters from a year ago, including almost the entire offensive line and a pair of 1,000 yard receivers; Joel McCabe (1,283) and Kyle Shuck (1,063). This will allow the new quarterback a chance to get comfortable, but it will have to happen quickly. Quarterback isn’t the only position that will have someone new, Lucas Luedders and Collin Prosser will share offensive coordinator duties this fall in an effort to continue offensive success at Morningside. 

Said Coach Ryan of his offense: “A replacement for Joel Nixon at quarterback will need to be found immediately on an offense that returns almost everybody.”

The defense is a different story with just three starters back from last season. They return a starter on the line, at linebacker and in the secondary, but younger players will need to step up quickly and fill the holes. Aaron Roberg returns as the centerpiece of the defense after leading the 2012 unit with 121 tackles. He also tallied three sacks, 12 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a couple of interceptions. Jared Goforth and Colby Henderson combined for 13 of the teams 25 interceptions in 2012 and the secondary will need to fill those shoes. Cole Boger will look to lead the way with experience and three picks of his own a year ago.

Said Coach Ryan of his defense: “The defense will be young, but could be more athletic than last year.”

Thoughts: It seems that Morningside has some big questions to answer entering fall camp. The Mustangs have had a ton of success in the GPAC and we should expect that to continue will Steve Ryan at the helm. There may be too many questions to think Morningside can get back to Rome, but a 10th straight trip to the postseason isn’t out of the question. The offense will need to carry the team early while a young defense matures.