High expectations, return to top highlights topics for McNeese during annual SLC Football Media Day

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LAKE CHARLES – The Southland Conference Football Media Day event took on a new look this year when on Wednesday, the 11 member teams consisting of the head coach and two student-athletes, participated via Zoom interviews instead of in person due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

First-year McNeese head coach Frank Wilson made his debut with the league media and was joined by senior wide receiver Cyron Sutton and senior defensive back Colby Burton.

Wilson dove right in with the respect he has always felt for the Cowboys and his high expectations leading the program into the future.

“McNeese knows how to win. This place has always won at a very high level,” said Wilson. “I got first-hand experience as a player (at Nicholls) against the McNeese Cowboys. It’s a very prideful, tradition program that has had great players for many years, that has had great coaches for many years. My only attempt is to get us back to our rightful place.

“A 7-win season for McNeese is considered a down year where for others, it may be considered a very good year. It tells you about the standard, about the bar that has been set here. The expectations from not only the players and coaches, but also from the community and our fan base.

“We have quality young men that have bought into the things that we’re doing and not starting something new, but just getting back to our winning ways. Getting back to our standard of excellence and not compromising it for anything.”

Burton returns for a second senior campaign after his first one last season was cut short in the first game of the year against Southern when he went down with a broken ankle. Now’s he back and ready to lead a very experienced and talented secondary.

“I’m just blessed to be able to get back onto the field,” he said. “Last year, being from the outside looking in, it’s definitely a blessing to be able to put in the work every day.”

Sutton, a preseason first team All-Southland Conference selection, is coming off a record-breaking season that saw him catch 67 passes for 950 yards and nine touchdowns.

Both Burton and Sutton are two of 11 seniors out of 17 on the team who have played their entire careers in the blue and gold.

“We have a strong bond,” said Sutton of his senior counterparts. “We all came together as freshmen so we have great chemistry. We just have to keep playing as a team and follow coach’s lead.”

The Cowboys will come together as a full squad for the first time this Friday with the first day of walk-throughs which was passed by the NCAA. During these one-hour a day walk-throughs, the team will not be allowed to dress in pads or helmets but can include the use of a football. Weight training and conditioning will continue.

The first day of preseason fall camp will be on Friday, Aug. 7 with the season opener at Louisiana-Lafayette slated for Sept. 5.

POKES PICKED FIFTH IN PRESEASON POLL

Coming off its FCS leading 15th consecutive winning season, the McNeese Cowboys have been tabbed for a fifth place finish in the 2020 Southland Conference Preseason Poll which is voted on by league head coaches and sports information directors.

Defending co-champion Central Arkansas has been picked to repeat, collecting 190 points and 12 first place votes. Following was Sam Houston with 170 points and four first place nods while defending co-champ Nicholls was selected third with 169 points and six first place votes.

Southeastern Louisiana was picked one place ahead of McNeese with 157 points while the Cowboys gathered 113. Following McNeese was UIW (104), Abilene Christian (101), Stephen F. Austin (60), Houston Baptist (59), Northwestern State (49), and Lamar (38).

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