Eager to see what 2019 has in store

My 2018 in Lake Charles was abbreviated, but eventful.

When I first got to the American Press to take over as the McNeese athletics beat writer, the football team was 4-1 and about to win its fifth game. The Cowboys were seemingly in control of the Southland Conference race.

The basketball teams were starting practice for the season and there was still no set date on when the new on-campus facility would open.

Now, as we’ve entered 2019, the football team has a new head coach, the basketball teams have played in the H&HP Complex for awhile now but head into SLC play looking to improve on shaky nonconference slates.

But enough about the past, I want to tell you what I’m looking forward to in 2019.

For football, there are a bunch of things I’m looking forward to. I want to see how new head coach Sterlin Gilbert fills out his coaching staff and what he does in the last month before the regular signing day on Feb. 6. If the Cowboys are going to compete for the SLC title in 2019, they have to build well now.

I’m looking forward to spring practice to get a first look at Gilbert’s offense. He promised excitement and to “fire the cannons” and, while no cannons will be fired during spring ball, we will get a shot to preview the excitement that should be coming.

I’m excited for SLC media day. I wish I could explain why, but I guess it’s because that means the start of fall practice is around the corner.

When the season does start, I’m really looking forward to McNeese’s first two regular-season games: home against Southern University and at Oklahoma State. I predict that Southern will bring a ton of fans and the famed “Human Jukebox” marching band. That game should either be sold out, or the closest thing to a sellout for Cowboy Stadium in a long time.

As far as going to Stillwater, Oklahoma, I always enjoy going to different big, traditional college football stadiums. I’ve been to Notre Dame Stadium, Texas A&M’s Kyle Field; experiencing a big game-day atmosphere will be fun, especially considering it will be Oklahoma State’s first game.

I can’t wait to travel to different SLC cities and try out the food there. Anyone who knows me knows that I love the food almost as much as the football.

But I don’t want to just give football the love. I’m ready to see how the basketball teams deal with conference play. The SLC is not a gauntlet as far as top teams on a night-in, night-out basis. But both basketball teams have to play much better than they did during nonconference play if they’re going to compete and get in the top eight that earns the right to compete at the SLC Tournament in March.

I look forward to seeing the men’s team can use their big men to play a brand of basketball that isn’t seen much in the SLC. I also want to know if the Cowboys will finally start making a decent number of 3-pointers on a consistent basis.

As far as the women are concerned, they need to play better for longer stretches during games. The Cowgirls will have the opportunity to get some wins early on in conference play, and they will need to do so in order to gain confidence.

I’m looking forward to covering McNeese baseball for the first time and seeing if the Cowboys can improve on their 25-33 record. I want to see if the softball team can win its fourth consecutive SLC Tournament title.

I look forward to covering the Olympic sports that I haven’t covered quite yet. The stories are out there aplenty.

Most of all, I look forward to providing everybody who reads what I write a great product. Yes, I will still argue if I deem it necessary; no, that was never considered as a New Year’s resolution of mine.

Time for an incredible 2019.

l

David Berry covers McNeese State

athletics. Email him at

dberry@americanpress.com

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