WICHITA—Paul Mierkiewicz has a whole new coaching staff going into this fourth season as head coach for the McPherson College football team. After finishing 3-7 (2-7 in KCAC), he's looking to improve this year with his new staff.
The Bulldogs returned 16 starters from last season. It will be an adjustment for each position except the quarterbacks with the coaching changes.
"It's really exciting, especially for the young players Mierkiewicz said. "It's going to be an exciting camp. We got good coaches, and they will work hard to make us better."
Seven starters are returning on defense. Last year the Bulldogs gave up 35.30 points a game. Their highest points they gave up was 57 against Bethany College. Mierkiewicz hopes not to give up that many points to the Swedes when both face off again on opening week on Sept.1
"I'm hoping we do a better job getting off the field," Mierkiewicz said about last meeting with Bethany. "We gave up some plays, and we got some big plays, we just couldn't get enough. There was times I was happy about what we were doing offensively, and defensively is the other way around."
Another big question for the Bulldogs is who's going to be the starter in their home opener against the Swedes? Ed Crouch and Jake Tiernan, both juniors, saw the field last season and threw for 12 touchdowns apiece. Both bring a different skill set to the table for the Bulldogs, and the decision could come down toward the end of training camp.
"Both of them are athletic. Ed (Crouch) sees the middle of the field, sometimes a little bit better than Jake (Tiernan). Jake can probably throw the best deep ball I've ever seen. It's just a matter of what do we want to run, and what do we want to do," Mierkiewicz said. "It also has to do on how are they performing, and how they are doing in camp. It's like any competition. It just stands out more because it's the quarterback."
Whoever is at quarterback, McPherson will have a reliable target in All-KCAC receiver Jackson Goodmiller. Goodmiller finished last season with 51 catches for 527 yards and eight touchdowns. Goodmiller being the only senior in the receiving corp, Mierkiewicz is expecting him to step up in the leadership role while improving his craft in his final year as a Bulldog.
"He's going to continue to grow as a player. He's a super tough kid which is usually the position he plays Mierkiewicz said "He does things right on and off the field like a lot of our guys do and he will continue now as a senior to be a leader and continue to play."
Kickoff for the Bulldogs will be at 7 p.m at McPherson Stadium.
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