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Mercer football pumped for first year in SoCon

The Mercer Bears are coming off a 10-2 season.
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - It's a humid Thursday morning in July.

Inside the weight room at the Homer and Ruth Drake Fieldhouse at Mercer University, the school's football team is working hard.  This is where teams are made.

"We've got two different groups," head coach Bobby Lamb says.  "We've got a group of freshman that we signed on Signing Day. They're here in summer school; they're taking classes and are required to come to workouts. Then we have the upperclassmen.  They are not in summer school, but they're here on their own accord."

The players could take time off if they wanted, but there's no slacking here.  The Bears want more of the success they tasted last season, when winning seemed almost too easy.  Lamb led a school that hadn't fielded a team in more than 70 years to ten wins, including an undefeated record at home.

Things will get tougher this season when the Bears make the move to the Southern Conference.

"We're excited about the opportunity to compete," Lamb says.  "We know it's going to be tough, but I think our guys are ready to go."

You can find several of the Bears on preseason award watch lists, something you don't see that often for a startup program.

"People know who Mercer is," Lamb says.  "They know about out football program.  They know about our athletic program.  I think it gives us a little credibility in going and taking the next step."

They won't have to worry about fan support.  After selling out most of their games in 2013, this year's allotment of season tickets sold out in just nine days.  Even though the season opener is on a Thursday, Lamb expects the fans to show up.

"I think we'll have a great crowd, great atmosphere, as we have every game," he says.

Mercer opens the 2014 season August 28 at 7 against Reinhardt. The following Saturday, the Bears open SoCon play against Furman.



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