Arkansas State looks to reclaim conference title; WKU looking for shot

Published 10:23 pm Thursday, July 18, 2013

Despite having three head coaches in as many seasons, Arkansas State is looking to claim its third consecutive Sun Belt Conference title.

Out is Guz Malzahn after just one season, he’s now at Auburn. Enter Bryan Harsin, a 13-year coaching veteran who has coached in 10 bowl games as an assistant or offensive coordinator.

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Harsin, who spent time under Chris Petersen at Boise State and Mack Brown at Texas, said the pressure of winning another Sun Belt title is exciting.

“The understanding of how to win is important and we’ve got players that know how to do that, they’ve been there before,” he said. “We have to replace some very good players but we don’t have to build a foundation of winning, they’ve already done that. We have to build a foundation of sustaining that success.”

Western Kentucky on the other hand is looking to claim its first Sun Belt Conference championship despite being bowl eligible the past two seasons.

First-year head coach Bobby Petrino says that though WKU is in its final season in the Sun Belt, the goal is always to win titles.

“As we build this program, we want to go to a bowl game every year and win the bowl game and then be conference champions. We’ve got a great challenge ahead of us,” he said.

Western Kentucky will make the move to Conference USA next season and join former Sun Belt members North Texas, Florida International, Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee State.

WKU opens its season against Kentucky on Aug. 31 while Arkansas State plays Arkansas Pine-Bluff.