Southeast Missouri State University football coach Tim Billings used the Indians' open week to try and improve the team in a number of areas.
Billings figures he'll be able to tell just how productive last week was when the Indians play their next game Saturday at Ohio Valley Conference rival Eastern Kentucky.
The Indians, who picked up their first win of the season on Oct. 4 by beating visiting Eastern Illinois 30-17, are 1-5 overall and 1-1 in the OVC. Eastern Kentucky, coming off Saturday's surprisingly lopsided 41-0 victory at Eastern Illinois, is 3-4 and 2-1.
"Last week I felt was a week we had to get better and improve. I think it was good to look at ourselves," Billings said during his weekly media conference Monday morning. "No doubt, this game will kind of determine where we are. There will be a lot of questions answered, to see how much we've improved."
Billings must have cringed when he saw how badly Eastern Kentucky beat Eastern Illinois just one week after the Indians and Panthers battled to the wire, with Southeast needing a touchdown in the final minute to seal the victory.
"It's a big challenge for us," Billings said. "We'll have to play really well to beat those guys."
Last year the Indians stunned the Colonels 35-21 in Richmond, Ky., marking Southeast's first-ever win over Eastern Kentucky. Now Southeast has to play at Roy Kidd Stadium -- named after the Colonels' legendary coach who retired following last season -- again.
Asked if what happened last year at Eastern Kentucky will give the Indians confidence, Billings said, "Sure, it's something we can draw on. But I'm sure it's something they'll bring up, too."
Indians' injury situation
Billings said the open week was good from an injury standpoint as it allowed some of the Indians' banged-up players to get healthier.
"We're kind of beat up," he said.
Backup quarterback Jeromy McDowell, who did not suit up for the Eastern Illinois game because of a shoulder injury, is still doubtful for Eastern Kentucky.
Tailback David Taufoou, who also did not suit up for Eastern Illinois, had arthroscopic knee surgery last week and might see action Saturday.
Cornerback Marco Tipton and safety Mike Miller, who have missed the past several games with knee injuries, are likely lost for the season.
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