DICKINSON, N.D. – The Blue Hawks will open their season on Saturday (Aug. 30) against Rocky Mountain College, a former conference foe.
The 2014 season marks the beginning of the Pete Stanton era at Dickinson State, after replacing long-time head coach Hank Biesiot.
"The biggest difference [as head coach] is just a lot of the organizational things with our program and staff," Stanton said. "I'm now dealing more with the issues that come up with our entire team on a daily basis. As far as things on the field, things are pretty familiar as we have a staff that knows each other pretty well."
There were a few coaching moves over the offseason. Jeff Miller was hired as the offensive line coach and Jace Schillinger was named the offensive coordinator. Along with a new head coach and a new look, the Blue Hawks will compete in the North Star Conference in the 2014 season.
"We will enjoy the North Star from a geographical standpoint, no doubt," said Stanton." There are teams in the North Star we have never played, and a few we haven't played in three years. We know it will be a balanced league and we are excited to renew some old rivalries."
During the Blue Hawks' only game against a North Star opponent in 2013, they handed the Jamestown Jimmies a 27-7 loss.
"It is very hard to predict how the year will go," Stanton said. "From what I have seen so far, our young guys have really responded well. We are going to just take one practice and game at a time. We do have several guys returning. What we are looking for from our returners is leadership, handling adversity, and staying on course."
"I have been pleased with the consistency on both the defensive and offensive side," said Stanton. Defensively, we were so young last year and it takes time getting comfortable in a system. This year, we are way ahead of the game on understanding what they need to do. I have also been pleased with how well our guys have responded offensively. We had a lot of issues last year on both sides of the line, but the guys up front have been making great progress."
The Blue Hawks open the season against a tough Rocky Mountain College. The Battlin' Bears finished the season with an 8-4 record, including a 56-23 win at the Rocky Mountain over Dickinson State. When the Battlin' Bears played the Blue Hawks at the Biesiot Activies Center, the Battlin' Bears picked a 45-7 victory.
Kick-off on Saturday is schedule for 1 p.m.