According to the 2019 GPAC Preseason Football Coaches' Poll, Doane was ranked as finishing 6th in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC), but the team is confident they can finish higher than that.
Coming off a 6-4 record (5-4 GPAC) last year, the team was not surprised to be voted as finishing at 6th this year according to senior captain and defensive back Damond Brown.
“We hope to finish at number one by the end of the season and are confident that we can,” Brown said.
Part of the reason Brown says the team is confident is because of a large recruiting class.
The team brought in 51 new players, with a lot of them being transfers.
At the GPAC Football Media Day, Doane head football coach Chris Bessler said, “We had a good off-season, good recruiting. Going to be bigger but still have to show up and play.”
The coaches focused on offensive recruitment this year.
One member of that offensive recruitment is junior quarterback Drake Davidson who is a transfer from Lincoln University, a NCAA Division II school. Senior running back Kyle Jensen says Davidson is confident out on the field and having a confident quarterback really gives the whole offense confidence.
Along with new players, Jensen said having new offensive coordinator Dave Kimura brought a new energy to the offense.
“He has switched up a lot of our schemes and our plays. Every offensive coordinator has their own style, but I think it’s been a good thing and I think a lot of the guys like him,” Jensen said.
On the defensive side of the ball, Brown also says the team is senior heavy which will be a strength for the team.
“Doane is known to have a good defense,” Brown said.
This will be Bessler’s second year heading the program. Jensen is pleased with how Bessler has grown as a coach from his first year to this season.
The team will open up their season at Al Papik Stadium on Aug. 29, at 7 p.m. against Ottawa University (Ariz.). Ottawa was ranked in the NAIA top 25.
This will be the team’s first Thursday night game in over 70 years according to a post on Doane Football’s Facebook page.