Eastern New Mexico University football coach Josh Lynn is quite sure opponents will not be taking is team lightly this season.
If he needed further proof, he got it Tuesday when Lone Star Conference media, coaches and sports information directors picked the Greyhounds third in this year’s preseason poll.
“Quite honestly I was a little surprised,” said Lynn, who was returning from the conference’s media day in Carrolton, Texas.
“I can’t remember the last time Eastern was picked this high.
“In the past, we might not have always gotten teams’ best effort. That’s not going to happen this year.”
The Greyhounds, who are coming off their first conference title since 1991, garnered five first-place votes.
Tarleton State, which tied ENMU for the title last season, was first in the poll.
The Texans received first-place votes on eight of the 21 ballots to finish with 139 total points.
West Texas A&M was picked second with 127 points and four first-place tallies on the heels of an 11-3 campaign last season that ended in the NCAA Division II quarterfinals.
Six of the league’s eight teams received at least one first-place vote.
Last season, the Hounds closed with a six-game win streak, the longest in the league. The streak also capped Eastern’s first winning season (7-3 overall, 5-1 in LSC) since 2004.
The Greyhounds return 17 starters and 31 seniors.
“I don’t think we have to do anything special,” Lynn said about the possibility of competing for another LSC title. “We just have to prepare and work hard like we did last season.
“The big thing is we don’t need to get complacent.”
ENMU opens its Sept. 6 at New Mexico Highlands.
School (1st-place votes) Pts
Tarleton State (8) 139
West Texas A&M (4) 127
Eastern New Mexico (5) 115
Midwestern State (2) 111
Angelo State (1) 99
Texas A&M-Commerce (1) 95
Texas A&M-Kingsville 49
Offensive Player of the Year — Kyle Washington, Sr., QB, Angelo State: A 6-5, 210-pound junior from Humble, Texas, Washington finished 2013 with 1,102 rushing yards and 2,073 passing yards while also breaking the school record for total offensive in a single season (3,175).
Defensive Player of the Year — Charles Tuaau, Sr., DE, Texas A&M-Commerce: A 6-5, 310-pound senior from Wahiawa, Hawaii, Tuaau was a first team AFCA All-America after tallying 59 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks in 2013. He set a program record for sacks in a season with 12.5.