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Tigers have work to do

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Coach Chris Brown described the difference in the weight training regimen between his Fort Hays State University football team and Emporia State University. The Tigers build up strength during the spring. Then around 30 to 35 FHSU players stayed in Hays during the summer. Emporia State had 60 to 70 stay around. In the spring, Brown said Fort Hays resembled ESU in size, strength, quickness and physicality.

After the summer, though, many Tigers lost the gains made during the spring.

"Summer time, we go and we take a couple of months off and you lose everything and it showed," Brown said. "It comes back to making sure that they are here this summer and doing everything possible to make themselves a better football player."

The marked differences between the squads is one of the main reasons why the Hornets are 11-2 in their last 13 games and are receiving votes in the NCAA Division II poll. Fort Hays is 9-14 under Brown. On Thursday, Fort Hays lost 43-13 to Emporia State in the season opener at Lewis Field Stadium. It marked the first time in the last eight meetings the home team didn't win.

"You can just tell by their build and their speed and the guys that they have got," Brown said. "They are buying in and doing what they need to do to win ballgames."

Up front, FHSU's offensive line returned just one starter and no players who started in the same position from 2011. FHSU rushed 20 times for 44 yards, while ESU had 63 rushes for 279 yards. In addition, ESU held a 34-9 edge on first downs and a 591-207 advantage in total yards.

"They had a couple big guys up front that we just couldn't get moved," Brown said. "I told our guys what it has come down to for three years, it's what you do in the summer."

Saturday, FHSU travels to national power Washburn University for a 6 p.m. start in Topeka. Fort Hays hasn't defeated Washburn since 2008.

"We have got to get some first downs," Brown said. "We have got to convert on third down. We can't turn the ball over. We have to have some consistency on offense and sustain some drives, keep our defense off the field. We can't give up the big play like we did tonight."

"We have to do a better job on third down on the defensive side as well," he added. "We have got to tackle a little bit better than what we did tonight. We had a lot of broken tackles and our kids have got to be more physical. We weren't a very physical football team tonight."

Albert makes QB debut

Sophomore quarterback Treveon Albert had a solid debut in his first game as FHSU's starting quarterback. It marked Albert's first start under center since high school after he redshirted two seasons ago and was a wideout/running back last year.

"I kind of got my feet wet, because it was my first start," Albert said. "But all together, it's a learning tool. Just got to take this and run with it."

Albert struggled with the deep pass throughout fall camp, but had a 41-yard pass to true freshman Bilal Silat. Silat dropped another long pass that likely would have resulted in a touchdown. Albert finished 15 of 28 for 163 yards with two touchdowns, both to senior Keaton Callins, and two interceptions.

"Treveon played very well tonight," Callins said. "He surprised a lot of people. The two interceptions, one was a tip and one was an obvious passing down and Treveon stepped in very well, read the defense good."

FHSU was just 2 of 10 on third down, but part of the reason was short gains on first and second down.

"They just manned it up and we just hurt ourselves being third and long and they knew the pass was coming," Callins said. "First and second down, we've got to get yards."

"We had a few dropped balls, a few missed keys," Brown added. "We are close on a few things. We have got a lot of young guys."