- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

At Kennesaw State, the players are still getting to know each other.

By Sept. 3, they hope to be a team.

More than two years after approving a new football program, the Owls will finally begin their inaugural season with a game at East Tennessee State, followed by the Sept. 12 home opener against Edward Waters. The excitement surrounding the fledgling FCS program in suburban Atlanta was apparent when the first contest at Fifth Third Stadium sold out in 27 hours after the remaining seats went on sale.

In fact, only a limited number of tickets are available for Kennesaw State’s entire six-game home slate as a member of the Big South Conference.

Coach Brian Bohannon, a former Georgia Tech assistant, has focused on getting his team ready to play on the field while also making sure they’re coming together when practice is over.

To help accomplish that latter goal, he had his players do a unique drill during preseason camp.

“We knew each other, but now it’s a closer bond,” running back Steven Johnson said. “We did this experiment where we had to go meet people we didn’t know and get three facts about them. A lot of them were funny, and some of them were deep. … It helped us really grow closer to each other.”

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Here’s a look at Georgia’s other FCS schools:

MERCER: Heading into the third season since the Bears relaunched their football program, coach Bobby Lamb is hoping the numbers begin to work in his team’s favor.

Last season, after moving up from the non-scholarship Pioneer League, Mercer went 1-6 in the Southern Conference. That was to be expected, considering the Bears had only 38 scholarships compared to the 63 for their conference rivals.

This season, they will have 53 scholarship players and hope that will turn the tide of close losses. Five of Mercer’s six conference defeats were by single digits.

“The Southern Conference really opened the door for us,” Lamb told The Macon Telegraph. “People identify the Southern Conference as one of the top conferences in the FCS because it has been that way for years.”

SAVANNAH STATE: The Tigers are picked to finish last in the 11-team Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference after a winless 2014 season.

Coach Earnest Wilson III will be looking to lead his team to its first victory since September 2013, when they beat Fort Valley State. Since then, the Tigers have lost 21 consecutive games.

A year ago, Savannah State was outscored 557-137, gave up more than 50 points in five games, and was thoroughly humiliated in its final two contests, losing to Georgia Southern 83-9 and Middle Tennessee State 61-7.

Making matters worse, the Tigers were prohibited from holding spring practice because of academic issues.

“We’ve got some talent,” Wilson told the Savannah Morning News. “We want to go out with a chip on our shoulder.”

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963


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