Iowa Wesleyan football coach Jason Smelser hopes added experience will help the program take another step this season. After going winless in 2007 the Tigers were 3-8 a year ago and Smelser expects the improvement to continue. Running back Jaren Maybin returns for his senior campaign after rushing for 970 yards and eight touchdowns in 2008.

Paving the way will be an experienced offensive line, and all the receivers coming back from last season, except for the tight end. They’ve filled the tight end spot with a transfer from Utah.

Smelser likes the potential on defense as he says the secondary was sixth in the nation last year. He says the defense got better in spring ball and he expects that to continue with some of last year’s starters being challenged.

One emphasis during spring drills was turnover margin. The Tigers turned it over 10 more times than their opponents in 2008. Smelser says they did a great job of hanging onto the football this spring. Smelser feels the Tigers may be facing their toughest schedule in the program’s history. Besides a tough Mid-States Football Association race there is also a visit to One-double-A Tennessee-Martin.

They will open the season at home against Trinity International on August 29th.