Redhawks conclude spring workouts with scrimmage

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Southeast's 15th workout session will begin at noon at Houck Stadium.

Southeast Missouri State's annual spring football game will again feature an unusual format.

And this time around, plenty of new faces.

The Redhawks will hold the last of 15 spring workout sessions allowed by the NCAA today with a noon intrasquad contest at Houck Stadium. Admission is free.

For the second straight year since he took over the program, coach Tony Samuel, citing a lack of depth at various positions, won't split his group into separate teams today.

The game will instead pit the offense against the defense using a scoring system that awards points for various accomplishments on each side of the ball.

"This kind of scoring system can get very exciting," Samuel said. "I expect a very competitive game."

Southeast's first spring game under Samuel, however, was not very competitive.

It was apparent that the scoring system favored the defense, which rolled to a 60-24 victory.

Regardless of today's outcome, Samuel said he is looking forward to the contest.

"This will be our first real game-type scrimmage of the spring and we'll be able to work on some different things with the use of the clock," he said. "We'll work on our two-minute drill and we will see how our squad reacts to game-type situations and conditions."

As for the players who will participate, it's safe to say fans probably won't be familiar with too many of them.

The Redhawks graduated 25 seniors from Samuel's first Southeast team that went 4-7, including 2-6 in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Those 25 seniors filled most of the starting positions and represented many of the squad's top players, so Samuel and his staff are in the process of finding new starters for most positions.

Samuel said first-string spots won't necessarily be decided in the spring, but players can gain an upper hand heading into preseason practice.

"It's a combination," he said. "The spring, the summer workouts and fall camp are all important. A guy can definitely gain an advantage in the spring."

Ten of the 29 players Southeast signed this year enrolled in January and participated in spring practice, which Samuel says is a big help. Nine of those 10 who will suit up today are junior college transfers.

"The players who came in at mid-semester have been welcomed additions," Samuel said. "They are good, quality kids who have been well coached. They have stepped right in and will definitely help us."

Samuel said he has generally been pleased with his second spring practice session as the Redhawks' leader.

"We are way ahead of where we were at this time last spring," he said. "We've made good progress on both sides of the ball, but we are still a work in progress.

"We have 19 more players coming in for fall drills and our lineups won't be secured until the new players arrive."

Reinforcements will arrive for fall camp at several positions where Southeast is thin right now, including running back, wide receiver and offensive line.

"The experience gained this spring will be very valuable, but I'm sure the new players in the fall will challenge for playing time," Samuel said.


* Southeast's football coaching staff will hold its annual spring party today beginning at 6 p.m. at the Cape Girardeau Elks Lodge.

There will be free food, courtesy of area restaurants, along with silent and live auctions. The party is open to the general public.

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