Earlier this month, head coaches from the South Atlantic Conference picked Carson-Newman as the favorite to win the league championship in 2018.
If that proves to be true, it would snap a nine year title drought for the Eagles.
While it’s only a preseason poll, Carson-Newman is welcoming a little extra pressure before the season begins Aug. 30 at West Florida.
“It excited me but we all felt we were number one so we really weren’t surprised,” Eagles junior quarterback Derrick Evans said on Wednesday at the program’s media day. “We just know that we got a lot to play for now. We’re just going to take it week by week and do what we are coach to do and just work hard and at the end of the year try to be number one how we should be.”
“It’s a good confidence builder, it is for the whole team. Offense, defense and special teams,” Carson-Newman defensive back Darius Williams said.
After racking up 24 touchdowns in his first two seasons, Antonio Wimbush played in two games in 2017 before taking a medical redshirt due to injury. The running back is ready to prove that his team deserves the hype.
“We’re glad that they picked this number one,” Wimbush said. “Just having a chip on our shoulder but at the same time we have to come in day by day and be ready to work.”
Mike Turner enters his second season as the Eagles head coach but his 35th overall with the program.
“Being an offensive coordinator for a long, long time, becoming a head coach, I told my wife there’s a lot they don’t tell you about before you sign on. But the greatest part is the relationship I have with all the kids. It’s not just with the offense now, and to be honest with you, I’m having the best time I’ve had in a long time coaching.”
Carson-Newman returns almost every starter from a 2017 team that finished 8-3 while averaging 34 points per game.
“It’s a two-edged deal. And we put a quote up the first day: You can never keep learning if you think you know it all.”