The word about Big Brit Energy is out.
Albion College, under the direction of first-year Head Coach Dustin Beurer, '05, is expected to be in the thick of the race for the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association football championship this fall.
Two rival coaches picked the Britons to win the MIAA championship as Albion and Trine tied for second in the preseason poll released today by Sheila Morrigan, the league's director of media relations.
Hope College was installed as the favorite to win the MIAA championship, receiving four votes to finish first.
Albion finished third among NCAA Division III teams with an average of 534 yards of total offense last season. The Britons averaged 44 points per game, placing them seventh among Division III teams.
With four linemen – left tackle Jared Jones, center Dan Barrett, right guard Chase Bouschor and right tackle Lige McKinney – protecting third-year starting quarterback Kyle Thomas and opening running lanes for back Markell McCoy, there's no reason to believe Albion can't duplicate its offensive production from a year ago. Receivers Kolby Canfield, Marlon Martin and Justin Thomas also return to the offensive platoon.
"A lot of first-year head coaches go into a situation where they don't know the personnel or they may have to rebuild, but (retired) head coach Craig Rundle did a great job of setting the foundation two years ago knowing what we wanted to be with this group," Beurer said.
"The receiver and offensive line are two of our strongest positions in terms of depth and experience," he added.
The defensive platoon will be anchored by Mitchell Arendsen, an end who was an all-MIAA first team pick after finishing 18th in Division III in sacks. Arendsen will be joined by tackle Malik Bozell, end David Aukema, linebackers Quinten Jackson, Levi Ladd and Donovan Slates and defensive backs Kole Hollenbeck and Drew Shafer.
Beyond the starters, Beurer cautioned, Albion's depth will be young.
Albion opens the season Sept. 7 with a 6 p.m. home game against Defiance College. The Britons also have a home non-league game Sept. 21 against Eureka College.
Albion's home dates against MIAA rivals are Oct. 5 against Alma College, Oct. 26 against Adrian College and Nov. 2 against Trine University.
The complete MIAA preseason football poll is listed below. First place votes are listed in parenthesis.
Hope (4) 11 points, Albion and Trine (2 each) 14, Adrian and Olivet 30, Kalamazoo 36, Alma 40, Finlandia 49.
Follow the Albion football team on Twitter (@AlbionFootball) and Instagram (@albionfootball_). General athletics news can be found @GoBrits on Twitter, AlbionAthletics on Instagram and at facebook.com/albionathletics.
Joe and Julie Serra have given a $5 million leadership gift to launch a fundraising initiative to make two dreams a reality. The first is a newly expanded fitness and student activity facility at the site of the current Dow Recreation and Wellness Center. The second is a new or renovated facility for the volleyball, men's basketball and women's basketball teams that currently call Kresge Gymnasium home.
The College is continuing to raise funds in support of both projects. To learn more, call 517/629-0446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.