BELTON, TX — The UMHB Cru is hungry to repeat as national champions. The Cru, coming of a historic 15-0 season that was topped off with the school's second national title, find themselves yet again in a crowded fall camp with over 200 athletes competing for a spot on Head Coach Pete Fredenburg's team. Although the program is no stranger to success, they know there is no time to be complacent.
"It goes without saying that every year is a new year," Coach Fredenburg said. "And that's an old coaching cliche, but we're in the process of building this year's team. And we were excited last year, but that was last year, so we really got a big job in front of us to have guys elevate their play and take the place of a lot of good players that have gone. So it's gonna be really fun to watch as we grow and develop."
One big contributor from last season that won't be around this year is wide receiver TJ Josey. Josey stopped by practice Thursday to check out the man Fredenburg would like to see fill his shoes. Jonel Reed was a consistent player for the Cru a year ago, playing opposite of Josey, but he hopes to elevate his role and become the lead man on the edge his senior season.
In the backfield, Olan Vining III is expected to take over the bulk of the carries, replacing Markeith Miller. The Cru are hopeful the junior running back will be their next thousand-yard rusher.
Despite all the changes on the offensive end, players say the Cru are still hungry for more.
"After 2016 of course last season, we are building the expectation that our expectation is to go to the Stagg Bowl and win national championships," Steven Sellers, a junior offensive lineman for the Cru, said. "But another thing is, it makes you hungry. Once you taste that victory and end your season like that, you never want to go back to anything else. So that's one of those things. You're chasing that feeling again."
The Cru have a scrimmage Friday against a team from Mexico before school begins on Monday. Their title defense begins September 14 against Albright College in Belton.