Northwestern College looks to make a run at the Great Plains Conference title this season. The Red Raiders are picked to finish third in a preseason coaches poll after posting a 6-4 overall mark in 2002. Like all teams the intense heat has been a problem this past week and coach Orv Otten says they have adjusted the practice schedule because of it. He says they’re practicing three different times during the day, the morning, afternoon and evening, so they can shorten down the practices. He says they haven’t gone in full pads very often and have a lot of water breaks. Leading the way is a defense that features 11 seniors. He says they’ve done a super job and taken the lead in intensity. Otten also has all his skill position players back on offense. The preseason favorite in the Great Plains race is the University of Sioux Falls, the defending conference champion, who Otten says returns several top players. Otten says the area hardest hit by graduation was the offensive line. Northwestern opens the season September sixth at Briar Cliff.