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FOOTBALL: BSU picked eighth in NSIC coaches poll

BEMIDJI -- Despite finishing 3-8 overall last season and 13th in the 16-team Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference a season ago, coaches think Bemidji State is on track for improvement this season.

NSIC coaches picked BSU to finish eighth overall and third in the north division in their annual coaches poll released Thursday.

The Beavers were picked to finish sixth in 2013 but were plagued by a young offense that struggled for most of the year -- BSU was last in the conference passing and 14th in scoring.

This season looks to be more promising, with another year of experience in the receiving corps and offensive line and what looks like will be a good pre season training camp battle between incumbent quarterback Ryan Shields and Northern Iowa transfer Jordan Hein.

The Beavers finished eighth in the overall conference poll behind Southwest Minnesota State and ahead of University of Mary; coaches picked Minnesota Duluth (eight first-place votes) to finish atop the conference standings with Minnesota State Mankato (seven votes) close behind and Winona State (one vote) a distant third.

UMD was also picked to finish first in the North Division, ahead of St. Cloud State and BSU.

League coaches also picked UMD running back Austin Sikorski as the NSIC North Offensive Preseason Player of the Year; U-Mary linebacker Grant Singer was picked as the NSIC North Defensive Preseason Player of the Year.

The coaches also selected players to watch from each team, and BSU's representatives were sophomore wide receiver/return specialist Juwaan Richard and senior safety Scott Christensen.

See the full preseason poll here at the NSIC website.

The Beavers report to fall preseason training camp next weekend, with the first practice scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 14. The first game is set for Sept. 6 at Wayne State.

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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