Loomis, Edison named Preseason All-Big Sky

Just in time for Vikings football to get underway, the Big Sky has announced its 2014 Preseason All-Conference Team. Though only two Vikings made the team, it must be remembered that this is only the Preseason All-Conference Team which is selected before the hard work of the offseason can come to fruition.

The first Viking selected to the team was senior All-American punter Kyle Loomis. Before leading the country in punting last season, Loomis was on a seven-year break from football while serving in the U.S. Army after punting for the Oregon State Beavers as a freshman in 2006.

The other Viking selected to the Big Sky Preseason All-Conference Team was senior guard Cornelius Edison. Hailing from University Place, Washington, Edison is going into his third straight year as a starter on the offensive line.
Because individual stats for offensive linemen are difficult to quantify, one must assess the productivity of the offense as a whole in order to get a grasp of how well the line protected the passer and blocked in the run game.

Edison was part of an offensive unit that set school records in single season rushing yards (3,330), average rushing yards per game (277.7), total offense (540.5) and rushing touchdowns (36). To gauge the success of the Vikings run game, they ranked first in the Big Sky Conference and third in the nation (FCS).

There is no doubt that with such a productive record-setting offense, things are looking up for the Vikings in the upcoming season. However, the Big Sky is stacked with talent, so it will be an uphill battle if the Vikings want to put up numbers like last season.

To start the season off, the Vikings will head down to Corvallis to play against the PAC 12’s Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium. After a home game at Hillsboro Stadium against the Western Oregon Wolves, the Vikings are back on the road and will be headed east to Pullman, Washington, to battle another PAC 12 opponent, the Washington State Cougars.

Though these are Football Bowl Subdivision major conference teams, just remember last season’s game against the PAC 12’s University of California. Though it was an offensive shootout, the Vikings nearly shocked the nation by beating the Golden Bears before losing 30–37 at the very end. In that single score loss, the Vikings put up 553 total yards (308 passing and 245 rushing), with running back DJ Adams scoring three touchdowns on 139 yards. If the Vikings can play like that against OSU and WSU, the season and conference play will be wide open for them.

For those who like offensive shootouts, the most exciting game of the year will also be the last game of the season, against Eastern Washington University at home in Providence Park on Nov. 21. At the helm for EWU will be senior quarterback Vernon Adams. Last season, Adams threw for almost 5,000 yards and set a Big Sky Conference single-season record with 55 touchdown passes. These numbers earned Adams the Big Sky Player of the Year award and led him to be the runner-up for the Walter Payton Award. These numbers also led him to be selected as Preseason Big Sky All-Conference Offensive MVP.

In such a talent-laden conference, putting up big numbers will be no easy feat for the Vikings. Not only does this talent make it hard for the Vikings to produce, it makes it harder for the players to be selected to the All-Conference team. However, as stated in the beginning of the article, this is the Big Sky Preseason All-Conference Team. Preseason speculation matters little once the season gets underway. One can only hope that the Vikings’ players see these rankings and use them as motivation to prove any doubters wrong.