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With his senior season rapidly approaching, Idaho State's Josh Hill feels a sense of urgency.
Hill, who was a member of Blackfoot's state championship team in 2007, will be one of the Bengals' key players on offense as they seek to build on last season's 2-9 record.
Last season Hill started at tight end and caught 48 balls for 407 yards and one touchdown. In his career he has caught 73 passes for 640 yards and four touchdowns.
"Our goal to to win games and be productive on both sides of the ball," Hill said during a phone interview on Monday. "We need to be mentally tough and focus on what we have to do."
Within the next few days Hill will sit down with his position coach and they will outline some personal goals.
"If we're winning games, I couldn't be happier," Hill said. He admitted that the Bengals' difficulty in winning games the past three years has worn on him.
"There was a point when I was down, but I've had people help me," he said. "Once I got my focus right, it helped a lot.
"Since (head coach Mike) Kramer's come in, we're more disciplined. And focus in the classroom has helped us focus more on the field."
Hill, who has always been a good student, said Kramer's drive toward academic achielvement has helped the Bengals' mindset.
Nearly all of the team's seniors have spent the summer in Pocatello and have been working out together in preparation for the season.
Asked who he expected to be the team's leaders, Hill pointed to quarterback Kevin Yost, who he said "is always a student of the game;" offensive lineman Mark Clampett; and running back Rodrick Rumble, "just by example."
Rumble is one of three Bengals selected for preseason honors. Rumble is a third team All-American while Brendon Garcia and defensive back Donovan Henley were selected to preseason watch lists at their respective positions.
"I can help kids by being an example of staying organized with school because I've gotten good grades throughout," Hill said.
Hill praised the Bengal fans who supported the team last year and encouraged more to come out this season.