Redhawks launch fall pratices today

Friday, August 3, 2007

Head coach Tony Samuel will oversee his second fall camp at Southeast.

The 90-plus degree temperatures might not indicate it, but college football season has arrived.

The Southeast Missouri State players arrived for the start of fall camp Thursday and will begin the process of preparing for the season today.

"This is where we earn our keep," Southeast coach Tony Samuel said. "This is what we do. The kids get excited, the coaches, everybody gets excited this time of year."

Last season Samuel was the new face on campus as he prepared for his first season at the Redhawks' helm. This season it's the players who are the unknown. The Redhawks lost 25 players to graduation. There are 78 players listed on the current roster and 17 are freshmen and another eight are redshirt freshmen.

"There's some really good quality guys coming in, so that's very good," Samuel said. "Now it's just a matter of seeing what they do. It's potentially very exciting."

Samuel said the coaching staff will be somewhat limited in the number of plays it runs early in camp since there are so many new players.

"More than anything, we'll tailor how much we do, how much we put in that we can actually do," Samuel said. "That's the part you actually have to tailor. The actual workouts and all that, we're very fundamental anyways, regardless if we have an older group or young group. We'll spend an awful lot of time on fundamentals. That part, that's a given anyway. Now how many plays we can run on offense and how many plays you run on defense, that could be effected."

The one vacated position that stands out the most is quarterback. The Redhawks don't have a player on the roster who has seen action beyond the junior college level. Juniors Houston Lillard and Victor Anderson are both junior college transfers. They finished with identical statistics in the spring game -- 9-of-16 for 71 yards. Steve Callanan, a walk-on redshirt freshman, threw a 30-yard touchdown pass in the spring game. The fourth player in the mix is freshman Jared Van Slyke, who put together an impressive resume in high school in St. Louis. Samuel expects the battle for quarterback to rage through camp.

"He's got to be able to run the offense, be a leader, execute what we ask him to do," Samuel said. "There are so many things. The bottom line is compete."

The Redhawks, who were picked to finish eighth in the Ohio Valley Conference by conference coaches and sports information directors, open their season Aug. 30 against the University of Cincinnati of the Big East Conference. The Bearcats went 8-5 last season.

Samuel said all practices are open to the public and the practice schedule will be online at

Redhawks add coach

Samuel announced Thursday the addition of George Darlington to the coaching staff. Darlington, who coached Samuel at the University of Nebraska, will coach the outside linebackers and safeties. Darlington replaces Terry Samuel, who accepted a job as offensive coordinator at Nebraska-Omaha.

"I feel very fortunate to be able to add a coach with the experience, knowledge and background that coach Darlington possesses," Samuel said in a release. "He was my position coach when I played at Nebraska and we coached together for 11 years. Coach Darlington is the type of coach we need to put us on par to win a championship in the Ohio Valley Conference."

Darlington spent 30 seasons at Nebraska and was the first assistant coach in Division I-A history to be part of more than 300 wins at one institution.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: