NATCHITOCHES Northwestern State faces one of the nationıs most daunting schedules with one of the youngest teams in school history, but the Demons are confident they can extend a stretch of six straight winning seasons and challenge for the Southland Conference football title this fall. Thatıs what Demon players said over and over Thursday at NSUıs Fall Sports Media Day, which also featured coaches and student-athletes from the universityıs volleyball, womenıs soccer and cross country teams briefing area media on their upcoming seasons. ³Playing teams like Kansas, Baylor, Ole Miss, thatıs the kind of games I have dreamed about since I came here,² said senior defensive tackle Tory Collins, a Preseason All-American who transferred after his freshman season at LSU. ³Itıs a chance for us to show that we can compete at that level. I know we have good players. Some people may look at the (Division) I-AA label and think weıre outclassed, but on the field itıs 11 on 11 and there are a lot of good players here.² Northwestern has only seven seniors heading into a season when the Demons will open with visits to Kansas (Sept. 2) and Baylor (Sept. 9) and later will visit Ole Miss (Nov. 4) sandwiched between tough Southland Conference contests at home against Texas State (Oct. 28) and McNeese State (Nov. 11). ³Itıs my personal magnificent seven,² said fifth-year head coach Scott Stoker. ³What we lack in numbers we make up for in quality. These are guys Iıd go into a foxhole with. Theyıre all on course to graduate, theyıre all standup people, and theyıre the kind of players you like to coach.² Senior defensive end Ed Queen, a Preseason All-American who has bounced back from successful surgery for a sports hernia that sidelined him nearly all of last season, is particularly eager to make the most of the 2006 season. ³I canıt describe how miserable I was last year. It was one thing having a very painful injury that was a mystery for a long, long time even though we went to so many doctors, but the worst thing was not being out on the field with my teammates and seeing what was happening. Weıre not about going 5-5 here and it was terribly frustrating not being able to help out,² said Queen, whose injury was diagnosed and repaired by the same doctor who performed a similar procedure on NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb. ³Weıre a very together team this year,² he said. ³We made an effort to build stronger bonds between all of us. Weıve put in the work to go out and succeed this fall.² Before the Media Day luncheon and photo/interview session, the Demons went through their regular morning workout. NSU spent more than two hours in full pads practicing for the seventh consecutive day, with a lighter workout expected Friday morning heading into the first major scrimmage of preseason Saturday morning at 9 in Turpin Stadium.