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Bemidji State football team reports back today

BEMIDJI -- When members of the Bemidji State football team report back to campus today, they'll have a good idea of what is expected of them. After all, head coach Jeff Tesch, entering his 18th season at the helm for the Beavers, has been remarkably consistent since taking over head coaching duties in 1996 -- just three losing seasons in an 18-year span.

The Beavers were picked to finish sixth in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference this season after finishing fifth in the league last year with a 7-4 record.

The sixth place finish is an attainable goal but one BSU will have to work for considering its inexperienced offense.

BSU loses eight offensive starters, including quarterback Lance Rongstad and All-American tight end Brian Leonhardt.

Most of BSU's receivers who saw playing time last year graduated, as did three of its five offensive linemen.

However, the backfield -- running back Avery Walker and fullback Brent Knondziolka -- returns, as do a solid core of eight defensive players including All-NSIC linebacker Connor Quinn and preseason All-American defensive lineman Matt Shaver.

The Beavers return to campus today for check-in and team meetings. Practice begins in earnest Thursday and continues until Thursday, Sept. 9 -- BSU's first game. They travel to Winona State for a 6 p.m. contest against the Warriors.

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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