Jody Sears, Sacramento State’s interim football coach, insists the Hornets aren’t looking ahead to a game against Cal on Sept. 6.
Sears is nervous about the Hornets’ season-opening game Saturday in San Antonio, Texas, against Incarnate Word, a Catholic school that has played football only since 2009 and is making its official Football Championship Subdivision debut this season.
Sears says the Cardinals are on the fast track under former longtime NFL assistant coach Larry Kennan, entering his third season as Incarnate Word’s coach.
“There is a lot of NFL experience on that coaching staff, so their schemes are going to be extremely sound,” Sears said. “Regardless of how many years they’ve been in existence, that’s irrelevant. We can’t overlook anybody. We have to make sure we come out of the chute locked in and taking care of business.”
Incarnate Word had its first winning season last year, finishing 6-5 – including 5-1 at home – as an FCS independent.
The school, founded in 1881, played its first season as a Division II independent before going 7-25 in the Lone Star Conference from 2010 to 2012.
The Cardinals are now in the FCS Southland Conference, which includes national No. 3 Southeastern Louisiana, No. 9 McNeese State and No. 14 Sam Houston State. The Cardinals also play top-ranked and three-time FCS defending national champion North Dakota State in a nonconference game Sept. 13 in Fargo, N.D.
Kennan, 70, had two different stints coaching quarterbacks with the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders. He was an assistant with five other NFL teams and coached the NFL Europe London Monarchs to the World Bowl in 1991.
Last season, Trent Brittain, then a freshman redshirt, completed 178 of 325 pass attempts for 1,893 yards and 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
The Hornets, 5-7 last season, return 13 starters, including preseason All-America wide receiver DeAndre Carter and three-year starting quarterback Garrett Safron.
They have 15 experienced players back on a defense that will be overseen by Sears, who also is the team’s defensive coordinator.
Call The Bee’s Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.