Samuel looks to change the after-halftime show

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Southeast coach will alter the Redhawks' intermission routine in the hope of getting better third-quarter play.

Southeast Missouri State coach Tony Samuel liked the way his team battled back after a disastrous third quarter against visiting Eastern Kentucky Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately for the Redhawks, a final-period rally could not prevent their third straight loss, 27-21.

The Colonels scored all of their points in the third quarter to wipe out a 7-0 halftime deficit. Southeast rallied with two fourth-quarter touchdowns but fell to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in Ohio Valley Conference play.

"That was a good sign, especially coming off that type of third quarter," Samuel, speaking during Monday's weekly media briefing, said of Saturday's near-comeback. "We very easily could have gone the other way and given up. We had a lot of energy on the sidelines."

Samuel said following the game that he thought the Redhawks came out for the second half flat. He believes that also happened against Samford on Sept. 30, when Southeast led 19-0 at halftime but had to hold on for a 19-14 win. That stands as the Redhawks' most recent victory.

Monday, Samuel said he and his coaching staff will probably change up the way they handle the halftime break with their players.

"I think we won't spend as much time in the locker room at halftime," Samuel said. "I think we have to warm them up earlier."

While the Redhawks have basically been eliminated from challenging for the OVC championship, Samuel said they still can have a solid season and send their relatively large group of seniors out on a positive note.

Posting the program's first winning record since 2002, and just its third since moving up to Division I-AA in 1991, is now the goal.

Southeast has four games remaining, beginning with Saturday's 1 p.m. kickoff at last-place Murray State (1-7, 0-5). The Redhawks are seventh in the nine-team OVC.

"At this stretch of the season, we're out of the conference," Samuel said. "But this would be a good opportunity for the seniors. I always want the senior group to go out the right way."

Southeast had lost 12 straight games against Murray State until last year's 52-21 romp in Cape Girardeau. The Racers lead the all-time series 34-5-1.

Tuineau's troubles

Joe Tuineau entered his junior season regarded among the OVC's premier tight ends.

As a sophomore last year, the native of New Zealand caught 25 passes for 305 yards to earn second-team all-conference honors.

Yet so far this year, the 6-foot-8, 280-pound Tuineau has caught just four passes for 38 yards and he has seen his playing time dwindle in recent weeks.

Right now, senior Matt Boyack is apparently considered a better blocker and more suited to Southeast's run-oriented offense.

But Samuel said he has not given up on Tuineau, who is still relatively raw after not really playing any organized football until he came to Southeast.

"Joe just has to keep working on fundamentals," Samuel said. "He hit a stretch where he hit a lull. I think he's coming out of it.

"You have to remember this is only his third year playing football. The good thing is he's working at it."

Noteworthy

* Senior defensive end Edgar Jones continues to rank as the national Division I-AA sack leader with 10. He is also third in tackles for loss with 12.5.

* Senior All-American punter David Simonhoff is second nationally with an average of 45.9 yards. He is the OVC specialist of the week after averaging 50.7 yards on six punts against Eastern Kentucky.

* Junior linebacker Adam Casper, whose 67 tackles are 25 more than anybody else on the team, is 28th nationally in tackles.

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