MEDIA DAY NOTES: Missouri Southern Lions

Atiba Bradley, Richard Jordan, Jr., and Dawson Herl talk about the upcoming season.
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Southern Lions hit the podium on Tuesday morning at MIAA football media day in Kansas City. The Lions were represented by head coach Atiba Bradley, linebacker Richard Jordan, Jr. and quarterback Dawson Herl.

Here are a few notes from Missouri Southern’s time taking questions from the media.

ON LAST SEASON:

(Bradley) “Last year we took steps in the right direction. When I took this job I knew it was going to be a process, and that it was going to take some time and energy. I think it paid off, and we took some steps forward to turn this thing around. As we move forward, I think our team has gotten better and more disciplined, but like every coach here has said – this is a tough league and everyone has gotten better. I’m excited to see where we are at in the league and mix it up a little bit.”

(Herl) “We’re excited to get started. We didn’t finish where we wanted to last year, but we’re looking forward to seeing more changes and seeing how we match up with everybody.”

(Jordan, Jr.) “The most exciting part for me is the consistency with our coordinators. In my time here, I’ve never had the same defensive coordinator for two years in a row. I think that’s a bonus for us.”

ATIBA BRADLEY ON HIS SECOND FULL SEASON AT MSSU:

(Bradley) “I think the biggest change, like JoJo said, is the consistency. These kids have had multiple coordinators since they got here. For us to be able to provide the same coordinators for them this off-season is going to breed success and confidence heading into a tough MIAA schedule.”

RICHARD JORDAN, Jr. ON HIS EXPERIENCE AND BEING A LEADER:

(Jordan, Jr.) “I love being a field general. I love leading the defense. I want to give a shout-out to our guys up front for giving me the lanes to make plays, and our defensive coordinator Joe Bettasso. He is a great defensive coordinator and he’s put me in good positions.”

ATIBA BRADLEY ON CLOSE LOSSES LAST SEASON: (Missouri Southern had four losses by 10 or fewer points)

(Bradley) “I went back and looked and I found that the MIAA played around 40 games that were within a touchdown. That’s a credit to this league. For us, we’re trying to learn how to finish and do the things we need to do to get over the hump, and turn some of those losses into wins.”

ATIBA BRADLEY ON BIGGEST AREA OF IMPROVEMENT:

(Bradley) “The weight room has been big. We weren’t really able to train like we normally would that first year. We had a few ice storms and things like that, then we hit the spring and we had to prepare to play that one game. As this year came around, we were able to have a more traditional spring season with lifting and spring ball. That’s really the key to success in my opinion, getting stronger and more physical in the off-season.”

DAWSON HERL ON GROWTH FROM FRESHMAN SEASON:

(Herl) “Being in the same offense and same system for two years…that’s not something we’ve really had. It’s nice for us to have consistency and really be able to lock in and learn the offense inside and out. I’m learning the offense better, and I’m working with our receivers to really get that timing down, so we’re ready to roll right off the bat in week one against Nebraska-Kearney.”

ON BRINGING BACK A LARGE NUMBER OF RETURNING STARTERS:

(Herl) “You really get to know what to expect from everyone, and it helps mold everything together better. It’s really exciting to see everyone come together and see the progress that we’ve made in just one year.”

(Jordan, Jr.) “I got to work out with some of the other linebackers this off-season like Colton Winder and Coleman Booker. They’ve really pushed me to get where I need to be this upcoming season.”

ATIBA BRADLEY ON DAWSON HERL AND RICHARD JORDAN, JR. BEING LEADERS:

(Bradley) “Their leadership has been great. They’ve reached out to our guys to make sure they know their assignments and know they’re cared about. These guys are my muscles. These are the guys who are going to take us to the next level, and they’ve done a great job leading our younger guys.”

ON BEING PICKED #10 IN THE MIAA PRESEASON POLLS:

(Herl) “It’s always good to have a chip on your shoulder. All I’m going to say is don’t count us out this year.”

JORDAN, JR. ON HAVING FIVE FORCED FUMBLES LAST SEASON:

(Jordan, Jr.) “I’ve been taught it’s all about the ball. It’s all about getting the ball back to Dawson and our offense so they can go to work. That’s what I try to do.”

CLOSING STATEMENT FROM ATIBA BRADLEY:

(Bradley) “I just want to thank MSSU and our administration for their support and thanks to the conference for hosting such a great event. Now it’s time to get rolling.”