Indians conservative at first scrimmage

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Southeast focused on its running game before approximately 100 fans.

By Marty Mishow ~ Southeast Missourian

If Southeast Missouri State University's offense appeared a bit conservative during the Indians' first scrimmage of the preseason Saturday evening, there were at least two good reasons for it.

"I wanted to work on the run game. We ran it a lot. I wanted to get a lot of that on film," said first-year offensive coordinator Rob Likens. He added with a laugh, "We didn't open it up very much. You never know who might be here watching."

That last remark was in reference to future Southeast opponents, who probably had no spies in attendance at Houck Stadium -- but the way Likens sees it, why take any chances.

Caution aside, Southeast coach Tim Billings came away relatively pleased with the controlled scrimmage that lasted roughly one hour, 40 minutes and was played with officials. Approximately 100 fans witnessed the action.

"Overall, it was a solid performance," Billings said. "We weren't great, but I think we got a lot accomplished and we've made a lot of improvements."

The defense had the better of things, as it usually the case at this time of the year. The offense put together very few sustained drives and scored just one touchdown when needing to march a good portion of the field, that coming on tailback Jamel Oliver's 5-yard run about one hour into the scrimmage.

Fullback Adam Casper, a former Anna-Jonesboro (Ill.) High School star, scored on a 3-yard run late in the scrimmage, but that came after a possession that started in the defense's end of the field.

Placekicker Derek Kutz from St. Vincent High School booted an early 40-yard field goal. Kutz was also one of two from 43 yards out during situational work late in the scrimmage. Freshman kicker Colin Schermann from Central High School tacked on the extra point following Oliver's touchdown. No PAT was attempted after Casper's TD.

"I thought it was a pretty good scrimmage," defensive tackle Brandon Bohnert said. "The defense usually has a little advantage, but I think our offense will be great. And I think our defense is looking fine."

Said Billings, "Our defense played well at times. We didn't give up a lot of big plays. And offensively, the good thing is we didn't have any turnovers. It's kind of nice for the defense to be ahead of the offense for a change. That's usually the way it is, but it hasn't been that way much around here."

After one week of preseason practice, Billings appeared satisfied.

"I'm pretty happy," he said. "We still have a long way to go, but I think we're coming along well."

The Indians will have their final scrimmage at 5 p.m. Friday on their practice field at the Rosengarten Athletic Complex.

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