The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Pittsburg State Sports

March 28, 2013

Gorillas begin spring drills today

The Pittsburg State Gorillas hope to take the first steps in a return to the postseason today when they open spring football practice at 6:15 a.m.

The Gorillas — who missed the playoffs with a 7-3 season in 2012, just a year after winning the NCAA Division II national title — will conclude their 15 sporadic practice days with their annual spring game on April 27.

Fourteen starters — six on offense and eight on defense — return from last year’s squad.

Junior quarterback Anthony Abenoja is back after throwing for 233 yards per game in 2012. All-America receiver/kick returner John Brown returns for his senior season.

On the defensive side, three-time all-America linebacker Nate Dreiling returns for his senior campaign. Another all-America season would make Dreiling just the third four-time all-American in program history.

According to a press release, coach Tim Beck expects approximately 120 players for spring camp.

“There’s no question the players and our coaching staff are eager to get on the practice field,” said Beck, who is entering his fourth season as Pitt State’s head coach. “The spring is a great time for our coaching staff to evaluate and where we are at as a team. It’s also a perfect time for players to take it upon themselves to hone their skills as well as step up and become great leaders for the 2013 season.”

After today the Gorillas are off until Tuesday, when the begin three straight days of drills.

The spring game will kick off at 10 a.m. on April 27 at Carnie Smith Stadium.

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