After a season that saw the Pittsburg State University football offense rack up 44.8 points and 500.9 yards per game, the Gorilla coaching staff will have a new task at hand for 2009.

After a season that saw the Pittsburg State University football offense rack up 44.8 points and 500.9 yards per game, the Gorilla coaching staff will have a new task at hand for 2009.
They find themselves having to replace All-MIAA quarterback Mark Smith and All-American and Ken B. Jones award winner Caleb Farabi at running back.
Farabi, who had 1,665 all-purpose yards in 2008 along with 14 touchdowns, is gone as is fellow running back Brandon Clark, who accounted for 17 touchdowns and was the Gorillas' short-yardage back.
That puts the load on Terrance Isaac (5-foot-8, 184) and Eric Love (5-9, 185), both of which saw limited time on the field last year.
"We have Terrance Isaac and Eric Love, who is from Cozad, Neb., and no one really recruited him because he is not that big and not overly fast but, he can make you miss," PSU head coach Chuck Broyles said. "He is one of those players that will play at Pittsburg because he has bought into the system."
Northeast Oklahoma transfer Cardell Clemons will also look for reps on the field along with redshirt freshman Jared Jerkins (5-11, 205) and Jason Spradling (5-10, 191).
At quarterback, the Gorillas have four candidates to replace Smith, including junior John McCoy (6-0, 208) and transfer Zac Dickey (6-1, 201).
McCoy comes into his third year in the PSU program. He passed for 221 yards and two touchdowns while adding a pair of rushing touchdowns during the 2008 season.
Pittsburg native Dickey threw for 937 yards and 10 touchdowns for Fort Scott Community College last season, after redshirting for Oklahoma State the previous year.
Junior transfer Jeff Schibi (6-0, 186) and third-year sophomore Jeff Smith (6-0, 205).
At fullback, both Nate Morris (5-11, 202) and Colby Childs (5-11, 210) battled injuries in the spring and will attempt to be healthy for the fall.
Senior Kendall Fisher (6-4, 215) returns at wide receiver after catching 22 passes for 359 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2008. Junior Ryan Holt (6-0, 186) and sophomores Derek Fisher (6-2, 174), Aaron Sawyer (6-3, 208) and Jon Thomas (5-6, 161) all hope to figure into the receiving mix for the Gorillas.
At tight end, seniors Martin Burke (6-5, 2650 and Ricky Ludeman (6-3, 235) return after each starting seven or more games in 2008. In addition, junior Bristan Kelly (6-6, 265) and junior transfer Tell Wyrick (6-6, 230) will look for time.
On the line, senior center Jay Nuñez (6-1, 251) is the lone returning starter and was an All-MIAA performer as a junior in 2008.
Junior Nick Speed (6-0, 279) and redshirt freshman Aaron Kolich (6-2, 258) will help back up Nuñez at that position.
At guard, junior Grant Garwood (6-1, 322) and redshirt freshman Josiah Cody (6-4, 278) are the leading candidates for starting roles. Garwood did start five games for the Gorillas in 2008.
Also competing for time at guard will be redshirt freshman Nick Sloan (6-6, 311) and sophomore Kell Smalley (6-0, 267).
Junior Dustin Wiley (6-4, 281) and junior transfer Adam Stewart (6-5, 267) looked for starting roles after the spring, while senior Joe Kinnard (6-4, 282) also had a solid spring after switching sides of the ball from nose guard.
On the average, Pitt State’s offensive line is 6-3 and 280 pounds.
“I expect our offensive line to be a group that will get better and better as the season progresses,” Broyles said. “We need them to have success early and definitely they should gain confidence with the more reps they play.
“Overall, our offense has the capability to be a squad that can be productive in scoring points and compiling total yards again this year.”

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140. Follow Morning Sun sports at twitter.com/mssports.