JU Picked To Win PFL South Division In Preseason Coaches Poll

Aug. 14, 2002

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - - Jacksonville University has been picked to win the Pioneer Football League South Division in the 2002 PFL Preseason Coaches' Poll, which was released by the league office today. The Dolphins, which received six of a possible nine first-places votes, captured the 2001 PFL South Championship with a perfect 3-0 mark in league play in their first season in the league. No. 1 Dayton, which won the PFL North last season, was chosen as the preseason favorite for the North Division again this year.

"We are looking forward to the challenge of defending our title and being the targeted team," said head coach Steve Gilbert, who has directed the Dolphin program since its inception in 1997. "The PFL South is much improved and everyone is going to be gunning for us after winning the division last season."

The Dolphins return eight starters on offense, including Sports Network Preseason All-American Kevin Womble, a junior tackle, while returning just three starters on the defensive side of the ball. Despite losing 25 seniors to graduation from a team that posted its first winning season in 2001 (6-5), Gilbert is excited about the Dolphins' outlook for 2002. "I love the enthusiasm and talent level of this group," said Gilbert. "I have never looked forward to a season so much."

JU will face its toughest schedule ever in 2002 with five scholarship opponents, three of four Pioneer Football League games away from home, a stretch of four consecutive away games in the middle of the season and more than 8,200 miles of travel. The Dolphins are 11-10 all-time against similar non-scholarship opponents and posted their first two wins over scholarship programs last year.

The winner of the North and South Divisions of the PFL will meet in second annual league championship game on Nov. 23 at the home field of the South champion. JU fell to No. 2 Dayton, 46-14, in the inaugural PFL Championship Game last year in Dayton, Ohio. The Dolphins open summer camp on August 17 at the Ashley Sports Complex on the JU campus.

2002 Pioneer Football League Preseason Coaches' Poll

NORTH SOUTH Dayton (7) 9 Jacksonville (6) 12 Drake (1) 16 Morehead State (2) 15 San Diego (1) 20 Davidson 22 Valparaiso 32 Austin Peay (1) 25 Butler 33 (1st place votes) Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team Teams awarded points by rank (1st= 1 pt., etc..)