Lions pave way for new beginnings in 2012

Since the Lions football team last took the gridiron in November of 2011, much has changed with the program.
The biggest change came last December when the Lions announced new head coach Ron Roberts as the 19th coach in the program’s history. Over these seven months, the Lions have also upgraded the turf and field structure in Strawberry Stadium. Roberts has been working with his new team and coaching staff to help build a new attitude throughout the program.
“We’re really excited about what’s around the corner because we know it’s coming quick,” said Roberts. “I really think we’re heading in the right direction and we’re headed there fast.”  
Over the past two seasons the Lions have accumulated only five wins. After going through his first spring and more than halfway through his first summer with the team, Roberts wants fans to prepare to see a new Lion ball club.
“You are going to see a team that plays with passion and loves the game,” said Roberts. “You’ll see a team that’s mentally tough and physically tough, and we’re going to be prepared.”
Since being hired, Roberts has put together a new staff that will help him get this team prepared and after running a spread, no-huddle offense last season, new offensive coordinator Greg Stevens says Lions fans will see some different things from this year’s offense.
“Offensively we’re going to be a pro-style team and a little bit of spread as well,” stated Stevens in an interview with Southeastern Sports Report. “We’re going to be balanced, but we want to be explosive as well.”
The Lions new offense will be led by someone new as well, as senior transfer quarterback Nathan Stanley will enter training camp as the favorite to win the starting job. Stanley took most of the snaps in the spring Green and Gold game over last year’s starter and fellow senior Brian Young and seemed to be in command of Stevens’s newly implemented offense.
Topping off all of the Lions new additions and changes are the renovations of Strawberry Stadium. The $525,000 project included the removal of the existing turf and track and installation of the new turf, which is being financed by the Lion Athletics Association, a non-profit organization that assists the university’s Athletics Department by providing private financial support for scholarships, operations and athletic facilities. The new field features a pair of gold endzones reading Southeastern at one end and Lions at the other.  Roberts said his guys are excited to play in the upgraded facility.
“It’s going to be a beautiful place to play on Saturday and we’re excited about getting those stands filled up and getting everybody in here to watch us play,” said Roberts.
The Lions open up the 2012 campaign on the road versus Missouri on Sept. 1 before playing in the newly renovated Strawberry Stadium for the first time on Sept. 8 versus South Dakota State.
For tickets visit www.lionsports.net or call the ticket office at (985)-549-LION.