Football season is almost here, one of the first signs that the season is upon us is the annual conference Media Days held around the country.
The Sun Belt Conference begin its two day affair Monday morning in a very tech savy way from New Orleans. This year's Sunbelt Conference was held via the help from Skype and allowed media members from across the country just to tune into their computers to view the head coach and player representative from each school.
With five either new first year coaches or second year guys on the job in the conference, one thing wasn't lacking from Monday's event was confidence.
There is seventeen days before Arkansas State begin's first fall camp under the direction of new Head Coach Hugh Freeze, ASU's new coach will be the first up on Tuesday's schedule. ?We at AStateNation.com wanted to bring you a notebook of Monday's events, giving you a few highlights from each coach that spoke on the inaugral day of the Sun Belt Media Day.
Those coaches were Todd Berry (second season) from ULM, Mario Cristobal (second season) from FIU, Willie Taggart (second season) from Western Kentucky, Rick Stockstill (fifth year) from Middle Tennessee State and Dan Carney (first season) at North Texas.
Berry on attitude and bond
"We have some high expectations going into this year. We had a young football team last year, causing to be unable to do all the things we wanted to do. The growth rate of our players, our coaches has helped us to created a great team chemistry."
Making the Grade
"We have worked tremendously hard in the classroom and is everyone is academically eligible."
Who is better?
"Hopefully the entire team. We are going to be very strong at running back, we have a number of OL back for another year and we have a sophomore quarterback that started as a freshman. We feel our wideouts are going to be a very strong group for us."
Starters coming back: Returns 11 offensive starters and 8 on defense
Berry on Expectations
"We haven't talked about winning conference championships, all we are focused on is being 1-0 (probably won't happen, they open with Florida State). "
Sophomore QB has high expectations
Kolton Browning finished 234-out of 378 attempts, for 2,552 yards and 18 touchdowns, he had 171 carries for 385 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
"The team comes before anything else. We always have competition, you don't inherit a position on this team you have to earn it."
"We want to win them all. We don't put anyone on our schedule that we don't think we can't compete against or win against. Our non-conference schedule will prepare us to become a better football team. We are excited about all of our opportunities.
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY
FIU is coming off a conference Co-Championship and appears to be headed in the right direction under second year head coach Mario Cristobal.
"We had a good spring practice, had our best offseason with spring and in the classroom. We are pretty eager to get things rolling this season."
Hungry to Win more
"All our hard work paid off and rewarded our team. It has also made us hungrier, it has wet our appetite."
"You better buckle up in this conference. A lot of creative head coaches in this league. You are really in for a challenge week in and week out."
Starters coming back: 8 offensive and 8 defensive backs from 7-6 team and 6-2 in conference play.
Best Quote of the Day
"Expect the unexpected in the Sun Belt Conference."
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
Middle Tennessee started out 3-6 before winning their last three ballgames and going to a Bowl game. Rick Stockstill is going into his fifth season as the head coach of the Blue Raiders.
Happy with Progress
"We are really excited about this year. Had a great offseason, we are very pleased with the progress we have made so far. I like the attitude and the character of our football team right now."
The Blue Raiders two new coordinators were promoted from with in. "We are much farther ahead this fall than we were this time last year."
"I'm extremely proud of last year's team. What they went through, the musical chairs at the quarterback position. This team didn't quit when we were 3-6, very proud of that team. We didn't accomplish all of our goals, but they never quit.
WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY
Second year head coach Willie Taggart feels his team has come a long way after year one.
"Look at last year and what we were up against, we had to develop trust throughout our entire program. You can see it a lot more on this team now. It wasn't easy to do."
"I think you will see a dramatic change in how our team has progressed over the spring and the summer. A big difference in this summer and last summer. We will be where we need to be sooner than later."
Taggart's Pick for First Place in the Sun Belt
"My vote was for Western Kentucky University"
Starters coming back: 10 starters on offense and 7 on defense
Dan McCarney, a veteran head coach of Iowa State, appears very excited about being a head coach again.
"I'm honored to be here representing North Texas Football as its head coach."
McCarney on Returning to Head Coaching
"I couldn't wait to be another head coach. There are only 120 head coaches in the country, I'm very lucky and really blessed to be a part of that."
"We have been working extremely hard, taking care of business today and tomorrow. My goal is to make this football program better every day. I hope that I have made this program a little better each day when I leave my office."
How far North Texas has to go?
"We have a long ways to go. We have a great commitment from our administration, a new multi million dollar stadium. Why not North Texas?"
Confidence in the Sun Belt
"This league is loaded with great head coaches. This is good football in the Sun Belt."
Building confidence within his program
"No one on this team has experienced a winning season here. We have to earn respect, we can't expect to be picked high in our conference or a Top 20 program in the country."
Returning Starters coming back: 7 offensive and 7 defensive starters from 3-9 team that went 3-5 in conference play.
North Texas Special Place
"This stadium on a smaller version is as nice as stadium as I have ever been in. This is a place that is going to be really special for a long time to come."