The St. Cloud State Huskies football team is preparing for their 2018 season after posting a 6-5 record in 2017. The Huskies were picked to finish seventh overall in the NSIC  in last month’s Preseason Poll.

The Huskies lost a number of key seniors from last year’s team, including wide receiver Jameson Parsons and defensive mainstays Jeremy Koffi, Brady Westart, Gary Koehring, Carvel Graham, among others.

“We lost a lot of guys, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” senior linebacker Jack Horter said. “We also have guys who have a lot of playing time behind them.

“We have some positions to fill, especially in the secondary, but we have a lot of young guys that are stepping up so we should be good on defense,” Horter said.

The Huskies also lost a majority of their offensive line from last season’s team, including Karl Rude, who transferred up Interstate 94 to St. John’s University.

“The offensive line was probably the biggest hit for us,” coach Scott Underwood said at a recent practice. “Between Bryce Johnson, Grant Lewis and Frank Garcia (moving on), there’s a new group gelling in there.”

“Obviously we have a lot of guys who are trying to get some experience and get back into the flow of football,” returning quarterback Dwayne Lawhorn said. “For me, I was out all of spring practice, so it was a little rough at first.”

Lawhorn injured his shoulder in the Huskies’ week three win at Concordia-St. Paul and missed a couple of games before returning to help SCSU take down Crookston in week six.  He says that the Huskies should have finished with a better record last season, but they could not finish games.

“Our last three games, we didn’t finish the way we wanted to,” Lawhorn said. “Offensively or defensively, we could not put a full game together.”

Coach Underwood said that a big factor in the Huskies’ 2017 finish was allowing too many big plays defensively.

“One of the key things in dropping our last four games is that little mistakes beat you along the way,” Underwood said. “As competitive as the (NSIC) is, you can’t give up big plays and turn the ball over, or make those mental mistakes.”

The Huskies will open the 2018 season against University of Mary on Thursday, August 30th at Husky Stadium. Huskies football can be heard all season long on AM 1240 WJON.