Baldwin What's new with Baker University's football team? Plenty.
Liston Stadium, the Wildcats' home field, has a new press box, new locker rooms, 872 chairback seats (late of Arrowhead Stadium) and a new Bermuda grass field.
More important, though, seventh-year BU coach John Frangoulis has a new offense installed by first-year offensive coordinator Marc Bergan.
How different will BU's offense be from the one that finished dead last in the Heart of America Conference last season?
"Completely," said Frangoulis on the eve of the 'Cats' season opener tonight against Evangel. "Everything from formations to terminology."
Kickoff will be 7:30 p.m. at Kennedy Stadium in Springfield, Mo.
For want of a better term, Baker will throw the kitchen sink at opponents this fall.
"If you can draw it up," Frangoulis said with a smile, "we'll run it."
Junior quarterback Martin Updike returns to run the new offense after starting nine games in 2001 and throwing 10 TD passes. Updike, a 6-2, 200-pounder from Muskogee, Okla., also tossed a dozen interceptions.
"We took some bumps with him. We knew we would," Frangoulis said. "He was a sophomore who had been a back-up the year before. But he had a good spring and he throws very well."
Baker ranked a piddling ninth in the 11-team league in passing offense in 2001, but at least the passing was better than the running. BU was 11th in rushing offense.
Updike isn't much of a running threat and veteran fullback Scott Lane is utilized mostly as a blocker so Frangoulis hopes newcomer Ramon Barber will make the 'Cats respectable on the ground.
Barber is a 5-8, 175-pound sophomore from Pittsburg who played for Coffeyville Community College in 2000, but had to sit out the 2001 season with a knee injury.
"He's a tough kid," Frangoulis said. "He's not real big, but he had good speed. How good he'll be I don't know. Time will tell."
Baker's offensive line is anchored by Aaron Anderson, a four-year starter from Baldwin High who earned NAIA All-America Scholar-Athlete status last season.
On defense, Frangoulis has three players who earned all-conference mention in '01 strong safety Eric Moore, tackle Mark Miller and cornerback Matt Tripplett.
Baker's '01 season looked promising after the 'Cats won four of their first five. Then BU dropped four of its last five and finished with a 5-6 record the school's first losing season since 1995 and only the second in the last 25 years.
Frangoulis lost 25 seniors off his 2000 team than went 9-2, including a victory over Campbellsville, Ky., College at the KWTO Bowl in Bolivar, Mo.
"With what we lost, I thought we would win six games last season," Frangoulis said, "and we ended up 5-6, losing one game in overtime."
The capital improvements at Liston Stadium are part of an $8 million campaign to preserve the historic stadium and revitalize the school's athletic facilities.
In the next phase, a new athletic building will be constructed adjacent to the stadium. Later this fall, a new scoreboard and P.A. system will be installed.
Three Free State High grads are listed on the second unit on Baker's depth chart guard Connor Treanor, tackle Wayne Cobb and defensive back Jeff Frenya.
Tyler Inzer, Baldwin High's quarterback last season, is listed as a second-team wide receiver.
Baker will debut in its refurbished stadium next Saturday against Avila. Kickoff is 7 p.m.