Florence, Ala. (WHNT) The two-time defending Gulf South Conference champs return 15 starters and yet league coaches are picking UNA to finish third.
After a run to the NCAA DII semifinals it's conceivable to see why West Georgia would earn the hype. Delta State shared the 2014 GSC championship with North Alabama and so recognition as number two also makes sense. From the outside looking in this preseason poll isn't that big a deal, but internally the lack of respect isn't sitting well. "Anybody could have been picked," said head coach Bobby Wallace. "but having won a share of it the last two years and having 15 starters back, it's a little bit of a motivating factor of you want to know the truth."
Nothing wrong with a little motivation, and that's how the team's veterans are viewing their selection. Luke Wingo is returning for his third season at quarterback, and he's been working to channel his displeasure. "I think it's good for our team but it's definitely a shot to the heart just with the guys we have coming back and guys we have here having won two in a row. You would think we would be in the top first or second but I think third is a good place to be."
If the Lions can prove their doubters wrong and win the GSC again, they would become just the third team in conference history to accomplish that feat three seasons in a row. UNA feels like it deserves the praise but knows that in football respect is earned, not given.
The Lions open their season Sunday September 6th against Miles College in Birmingham.