SFA football picked ninth in Southland preseason poll


HOUSTON, Texas (SFA Athletics) With the Lumberjacks’ 2019 campaign beginning in just 44 days, the SFA football program took part in the Southland Conference’s annual media day event Thursday afternoon at the Hilton Houston Post Oak by the Galleria in Houston. New head coach Colby Carthel, along with seniors Jake Blumrick and Alize Ward

Following Southland commissioner Tom Burnett’s opening remarks, and the release of the league’s preseason poll, Coach Carthel emphasized the challenges that the ‘Jacks are faced with in his first year leading the Purple and White.

“There’s a lot of transition that has happened in our program and that’s not easy for coaches, their families or players,” Carthel remarked. “We’re taking over a team we didn’t recruit and that poses some interesting challenges. I appreciate the buy-in from our team through our first few months on campus.”

However, Carthel expressed his excitement about coaching within a very competitive conference.

“I’m excited about coaching in the Southland because it is a great league,” commented Carthel. “You look at the resumes of some of the head coaches and coordinators in this league and they’re very robust.”

Addressing not only the challenges of taking over a new team and building the program from the ground up, Carthel spoke on what SFA will be doing in order to succeed.

“The reality is, we’ve got a tough job ahead of us,” coach Carthel said. “It’s an uphill climb, but we’re going to put our best foot forward every single day. If we improve each and every week, we can look back at 2019 and call it a success.”

Returning starting quarterback Jake Blumrick, who coach Carthel made sure everyone knew may not be playing at all in 2019 due to two recent back surgeries, and standout safety Ward both talked highly of SFA’s new coaching staff during their time on the ESPN3 set. Blumrick was able to voice all that he would be doing for the ‘Jacks this fall, even if not seeing the field for action, while Ward’s focus was on how much he has been studying the game during the offseason. Ward expressed how much defensive coordinator Scott Power has already taught him and his defensive teammates about the game during the spring and summer as Blumrick said that no matter who was behind center, the SFA offense would be in good hands with the new offensive schemes.

After the trios’ live press conference, Carthel, Blumrick and Ward headed into the Southland’s social media suite for recording of fun, interactive videos that the league will use leading up to and during the 2019 season. From there, the three took part in one-on-one interviews with a handful of local, regional and national media outlets to wrap up the conference’s media day.

Last week, a trio of Lumberjack seniors were tabbed preseason All-Southland as placekicker Storm Ruiz was selected to the first team offense and wide receiver Tamrick Pace was placed on the second team offense. Ward garnered preseason All-Southland Second Team defense honors after claiming All-Southland Second Team accolades in 2018.

SFA’s 2019 schedule features 12 games with the season opener slated for 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31 at the Big 12 Conference’s Baylor in Waco, Texas. The ‘Jacks will also take on Tarleton State at home (Sept. 7) and Southern Utah on the road (Sept. 14) in non-conference action before beginning their nine-game Southland schedule, which will start Saturday, Sept. 21 versus Nicholls in Nacogdoches. In addition to the 94th Battle of the Piney Woods inside NRG Stadium in Houston against Sam Houston State (Oct. 5) and the 54th Battle for Chief Caddo at Northwestern State in Natchitoches (Nov. 21), SFA will host McNeese (Oct. 26) for homecoming and the University of the Incarnate Word (Nov. 9).

2019 Southland Conference Football Preseason Poll

Team (First-place votes)Total 
1.      Nicholls (20)200
2.      Central Arkansas154
3.      UIW (1)150
4.      Sam Houston State146
5.      Lamar123
6.      McNeese114
7.      Abilene Christian (1)112
8.      Southeastern Louisiana71
9.      Stephen F. Austin63
10.   Northwestern State56
11.   Houston Baptist21

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