Pittsburg State graduated a senior class which became the first class since the 1930s to win its final game of the season four straight years.

That class included the school's all-time leading wide receiver John Brown and offensive lineman Cody Holland.

Brown was the focal point of opposing defenses most of the last three seasons and on the first day of spring practice Tuesday, he was once again regarding the Pitt State offense.

"We really like our group of receivers we have coming back," Pitt State head coach Tim Beck said. "When you look at everything, of course we lost a few good players on offense, lost a few good players on defense but the majority of our team is back. So, I think there's just a lot of excitement because there's a lot of kids that want to show what we can do with this group. Every year's a new group and it's fun and exciting and you have to have new guys step up in leadership roles and new guys that have an opportunity to be captains."

"It will still be the same," senior quarterback Anthony Abenoja said. "We've got some different people and some new guys that will really help us out. John, he's a great player and obviously, hopefully he's going to do well later on. But we've got some new guys and we've got a lot of experience on the team. It should be a little different with a little more experience."

Abenoja passed for nearly 3,000 yards, 30 touchdowns and five interceptions, good for an efficiency of 179.98. No. 12 also finished second on the Gorillas in rushing with 340 yards and five scores on 109 carries.

Jeff Seybold led Pitt State on the ground with 1,434 yards and 22 TDs on 201 totes. Early last season, Seybold shared carries with several ball carriers, including redshirt freshmen Steven Sullivan and Dre Holman. Eventually, however, Seybold worked his way into the workhorse running back.

"Offensively, again, we're going to try to take what everybody gives us and we feel like we were better than we were the year before in the run game without a doubt," Beck said. "We were very balanced last year and we want to continue to do that."

The quarterback and the running back developed a strong bond.

"It's huge," Abenoja said. "We have that chemistry. Chemistry's always great to have. Jeff's starting, we talk to each other like we did last year, but now we're just starting to feel it a little bit more."

Among returning offensive players, Abenoja and Seybold, of course, garner the most attention but they're only the most visible pieces within an offensive unit which produced heavy-duty points like the 90 Pitt State scored against Southwest Minnesota in the Mineral Water Bowl.

Brown caught 61 passes for almost 1,200 yards and 14 TDs but the next four leading receivers — Gavin Lutman, Marquise Cushon, Seybold, Austin Daniel — were not seniors last season.

Offensive lineman Ollie Venegas, Boston Higgins and Cale Karigan return and the Gorillas added Division I transfer Vincent Brown, a 6-foot-6, 330-pound Miami, Fla., native who used all his eligibility at Southern Mississippi (Brett Favre's alma mater) and picks up one more year with Pitt State.

Spring time means integration and implementation.

"There's always new ideas that come up in the offseason," Beck said. "Just a few things you want to take a look at just to see if you feel like it's going to improve you on that side of the ball. This is the time to do it. The springtime's the time to go out and look at a few different things and you'll determine at the end of spring if you like them and if you'll carry them onto the fall or not."

Pitt State will practice a total of 15 times before its annual Spring Game at 10 a.m., Apr. 26, at Brandenburg Field/Carnie Smith Stadium.