Samuel cites OVC upset as motivation for Redhawks

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The coach said Jacksonville State's loss backs up his belief that the Redhawks just had a bad game against the Gamecocks.

Southeast Missouri State football coach Tony Samuel believes what happened to Jacksonville State Saturday just might help the Redhawks.

One week after putting a 38-7 licking on visiting Southeast, Jacksonville State went to Tennessee-Martin and suffered a 24-14 upset.

Samuel figures he can use that result to get his players to realize they are a lot better than what they displayed against the Gamecocks.

"Jacksonville State getting beat, I think that let the players understand what we were telling them was true," Samuel said during his weekly media briefing Monday. "People thought we were manhandled. I thought we were out of position too much.

"Seeing that Jacksonville State is human will help us."

As impressive as Jacksonville State was against Southeast on Sept. 16, Samuel still has faith in his players and believes the poor performance was more of an aberration than an indication of talent differential in the two programs.

Samuel is counting on considerable improvement when the Redhawks -- coming off an open date -- resume play Saturday with a Family Weekend game against Samford. The kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

Both teams are 0-1 in Ohio Valley Conference play, after Samford also dropped its OVC opener against one of the league's perennially strong teams, 24-13 at home against Eastern Illinois Saturday.

Asked whether he is anxious for the Redhawks to prove to their fans that they are a lot better than what they showed against Jacksonville State, Samuel said, "We're just trying to prove to ourselves what I know we have. We didn't compete to our standards down there.

"In this sport, like in life, you have to prove to yourself before you prove to other people what you're capable of doing."

Samuel was pleased with what the Redhawks (2-1) got done during their bye week as they prepare for the Bulldogs (2-2).

"We really did get a lot accomplished," he said. "First of all, the Jacksonville State game was a great learning experience for us as coaches and players.

"That was our first true battle. To see how we responded, and then have a week to work on it, that was great."

Samuel said the Redhawks spent considerable time on special teams, among other things.

"The first part of the week we worked on ourselves. Later in the week we started working on Samford," he said.

Southeast also moved some players around, as had been promised by Samuel following the game at Jacksonville State.

Defensive linemen Nick Ferguson and Janell Pugh moved to the offensive line, where they are currently listed as backup guards.

Fullback Corey Andrade moved to the defensive line, where he will serve as a backup.

Ferguson, Pugh and Andrade had all played sparingly this year.

Samuel intimated at other changes for Saturday, although he did not reveal those.

"We're just trying to get our best players on the field," he said.

Statistically speaking

Senior punter David Simonhoff continues to lead the nation's Division I-AA players in punting with a 48.29-yard average.

Senior defensive end Edgar Jones is second nationally in sacks with two per game and he is also second in tackles for loss with 2.67 per game.

As a team, Southeast ranks first nationally in net punting with a 41.65-yard average, and the Redhawks are first in turnover margin at plus nine. Southeast has not committed a turnover in three games, and they have forced nine turnovers.


* As part of the normal tailgating activities prior to each Southeast home game -- free food and beverages will be served beginning at 4 p.m. -- the St. Louis Rams cheerleaders will be on hand Saturday.

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