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The Southern Arkansas Muleriders reported to camp over the weekend and are preparing for their Sept. 5 season and Great American Conference opener on the road at Southern Nazarene. The Thursday night affair will kick off at 6 p.m.

The Muleriders gathered at Wilkins Stadium for NCAA and orientation meetings on Saturday and held their first offficial practice Monday morning. The team are back on the field from 8:30 to 11 a.m. today through Saturday. A Sunday afternoon, Aug. 18, practice is schedled for 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

“We currently have 122 players here,” said head coach Bill Keopple. “We expect to pick up a few more by the time school starts on August 21.”

With many new faces and others expected to assume larger roles this season, Keopple’s message to the players on day one was straightforward.

“Don’t lose sight of why you are here,” said the veteran coach. “Your education is number one, with football being a close second this fall. The discipline it takes to be a great student-athlete is important and it starts with the basic fundamentals of executing the little things.”

Keopple also added that the little things require zero talent.

“Being on time, having a great work ethic, your attitude, effort, energy, body language, preparation, passion, being coachable and putting in extra work are what it is going to take to be a successful football team in 2019,” he said.

The Muleriders are coming off an 8-4 season in 2018 and a trip to Texarkana’s Live United Bowl. SAU won its first six games of the season a year ago. They have been picked to finish third in this year’s GAC race behind Ouachita Baptist (first) and Harding (second).

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