TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Ichabods are hosting Lincoln University of Missouri in Thursday’s season opener, but this isn’t the Blue Tigers team they’re used to facing.

After going 0-10 the past year, Lincoln had a complete coaching turnover. It has a new head coach, defensive coordinator, special teams coordinator, offensive line coach/recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach. That’s every coaching position on the roster.

On top of that, Lincoln has 59 true freshman and 24 upperclassmen. All this made film study difficult for the Ichabods because the team is hardly similar to past years. Instead, Washburn watched the coaches’ film from their old schools to get an idea, and focused on their own skills.

“We have a lot of guys back, and their excitement to play seems just as high,” head coach Craig Schurig said. “We’ve felt like we’ve had really good practices. We did a lot of night practices when we were in full pads, so they were competitive.”

Washburn returns some of the nation’s top receivers, including JJ Letcher and Peter Afful.

“I feel very blessed to have three guys that are all-conference receivers, play in this league, possibly play in the NFL and so on,” quarterback Kellen Simoncic said. “So, I feel very fortunate to step in a situation like that.”

The ‘Bods return six of their top eight tacklers from the past year, and almost the entire offensive line.
Mason Honne is stepping into the starting center spot, but he has experience from last season. Honne played against Northwest Missouri in 2021 with now-starting quarterback Simoncic.