CANTON - Heidelberg senior offensive lineman Austin Hunter is direct about the upcoming football season.
"It's all or nothing for me right now," he said. "It's like that for a lot of guys on the team."
Hunter's three years at Heidelberg have been three of the strongest in program history. The Student Princes have gone 25-6, including a Division III playoff appearance in 2012.
Last season, HU went 8-2, but the year had some disappointment. Expectations were high, but back-to-back losses to eventual playoff teams Mount Union and John Carroll ended postseason hopes.
The polls taken Wednesday at the Ohio Athletic Conference's media day indicated that the expectation is for a similar finish.
In the media and coaches polls, Mount Union was picked first, John Carroll second and Heidelberg third.
"I think we'd like to be higher; I think every single team would like to be No. 1," Hunter said. "Our expectations are always growing. We're never satisfied with where we're at."
Where Heidelberg is at is one thing. Where it finishes is another. To reach its goals, HU coach Mike Hallett said the Princes need to be consistent.
"Last year there were times when we were not as consistent as we needed to be on offense," Hallett said. "There were times we were not as consistent as we needed to be on offense and in the kicking game. Where we were more consistent a year earlier, we've got to get back to being highly consistent consecutive weeks. We can't have letdowns."
Hunter said he learned something from 2013.
"What I took from that experience was never overlook any minor detail," he said. "Week in and week out, you need to prepare to the best of your abilities. Not every week we did that."
BLOCKING FOR CARTEL: When asked what the offensive line thought of all the attention HU running back Cartel Brooks got when he broke the single-game college football rushing record with 465 yards last year against Baldwin Wallace, Hunter said it was fine.
"I don't have any problem with him taking all the credit, as long as I get to celebrate him at the end of the day," he said. "That's my stance on it. Any kind of touchdown block, any kind of crucial block I can make for him to help him accentuate his statistics and score more touchdowns and help our team as a whole is the common goal for me and I hope the rest of the offensive lineman."
CALVERT CONNECTION: One of the players representing Ohio Northern Wednesday was Calvert graduate Dillon Kwiat. The fifth-year senior linebacker, fully healthy last season, registered a team-best 111 tackles and earned second-team All-OAC honors.
Polar Bears coach Dean Paul saw his team finish 6-4 last year. To improve that mark, he's looking for good players to become great.
He believes the former Seneca can do it.
"We're hoping that he's a guy who can be a great player," Paul said.
"I think I am definitely capable of that, and I'm excited to do that this year," he said. "Stepping up in the leadership role and being a fifth-year senior, I have a lot of responsibility behind me to lead the team, and I'm pretty excited."
Paul said Kwiat sets a great example.
"He's not a guy we ever worry about academically, or being committed or just doing the right thing," Paul said. "He's gonna be prepared mentally. He's going to study his scouting report, study the video.
"He's going to give great effort."