Kennesaw State's Brian Bohannon - "We have our work cut out for us"

The Owls and Panthers meet for the first time this Thursday

John and Hugh
August 27, 2018 - 11:13 am

© Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

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Coming off a 12-2 record last season and the Big South Conference title, Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon is certainly ready for the 2018 campaign and on Monday, he previewed the Owls' season and this week's season opener against Georgia State on the morning show with John and Hugh.

"Well, I think offensively, we do have some upperclassmen who have played for us. I think we've solidfied some things along the offensive line," he said. "We're beat up a little bit like everybody, but our group of seniors is the inaugural class. There's 19 (of them), we call them "OGs," they're the original gangsters of Kennesaw State football. They sat in the first meeting with about 75 some odd other kids and they're the original ones left.  I think those guys, being their fifth year, will become the strength of our team from a leadership, and it'll take on a life of its own as this season goes as to what this team turns into.  (On defense) we have a lot of guys returning on the front. Anthony Gore is a really outstanding LB for us and then, on the edge, Desmond Johnson is a really good player who you'll see in the backfield some. Those are some guys who have played football and done some really good things that'll show up Thursday night."

While the two schools are meeting for the first time, it remains to be seen if they will make this an occasional rivalry, but the Owls' coach seems to give a great reason as to why it should continue - the familiarity amongst the players. "Well, we'll see. Right now, it's the only one (game) we have scheduled. I think it's a great game and it's something great for both fan bases. When you got teams this close to each together, all our kids know their kids and vice-versa. It's the only one we have right now, but maybe it's something we can work on in the future."

As his team looks to repeat as conference champs, Bohannon has his eyes set on bigger goals - to one day bring the FCS championship to Kennesaw State. "That was the goal from day one. When we had that first team meeting, we talked about winning a championship football program and have the opportunity to on that first week of January when the national championship is played. Internally, that's been our goal and that hasn't changed, and people recognize us a little more externally now than they did several years ago.

Entering his fourth year with the Owls, Bohannon was the Big South Coach of the Year in 2017, and he has recorded a 26-10 overall record during his tenure. Kennesaw State is ranked as the #5 team in the FCS (the Football Championship Subdivision) poll.

This year's senior class will be Bohannon's first at the school, and he's especially proud of what they've helped establish for seasons to come. "The good news and the bad, depending on how it goes, is that you get to create a culture, he said. "That's a unique thing about creating a program, there's no trying to change the way it was done before. Our thumbprint is all over it, good, bad or indifferent, it's all over it."

You can watch Kennesaw State's season opener this Thursday at Georgia State Stadium when they take on Shawn Elliott's Panthers at 7 ET (televised on ESPN+).

When speaking on his opponent, Bohannon praises the work of GSU coach Shawn Elliott. "I know Coach (Elliott) has done a great job. I know he wants his culture the way he wants it," he added. They've gone in and won a bowl game, and instilled a lot of confidence in that program. We've got our work cut out for us and anytime you play that first game there are so many unknowns. Hopefully we can control what we can control."

For more on the Owls, visit www.ksuowls.com.