Redhawks hit open date on schedule

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Southeast gets chance to regroup after five straight losses

Reeling from five straight losses, the Southeast Missouri State football team hopes to sharpen up and heal up during its week off from game action.

The Redhawks, coming off Saturday's 24-14 homecoming setback to Austin Peay, don't play again until Oct. 24 at Tennessee Tech.

"This week's huge," Southeast coach Tony Samuel said Monday during his weekly media conference. "We've been nicked up, had players playing nicked up.

"We need to get some guys freshened up for the stretch run."

Samuel said the Redhawks, after taking their normal day off from practice Monday, will practice today, Wednesday and Thursday.

Southeast players then will receive Friday and Saturday off before starting their regular game-week routine Sunday.

In addition to letting injured players have more time to recover, Samuel said fundamentals will be stressed during practice this week, along with doing some preparation for Tennessee Tech.

Southeast has been without several starters in recent weeks due to injury.

Senior offensive tackle Matt James from Jackson High School, who suffered a knee injury in the second game at Cincinnati, had missed three straight contests before seeing some action Saturday.

The Redhawks have been without junior defensive tackle Errick Aliifua the past four games after he suffered a high ankle sprain against Cincinnati.

"We hope to have him back [for Tennessee Tech]," Samuel said.

Junior tight end Bradley Brown did not play against Austin Peay due to an injury, while sophomore wide receiver Chantae Ahamefule left Saturday's game early with an injury.

Southeast, 1-5 overall and 0-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference, has five games remaining to try and salvage something out of this year.

Asked about the mood of the team, Samuel said: "I hope they're in a bad mood."

One thing Samuel said he's not concerned about is the Redhawks giving up on the season.

"They're going to play hard," Samuel said. "I'm not worried about that."

Samuel said it's crucial that the Redhawks treat this week seriously.

"The most important thing is to have a good week of practice," he said. "This is a bye week. Don't treat it as a week off."

Southeast has struggled in the second half of its last two games as both Austin Peay and Tennessee State -- which beat the Redhawks 23-17 Oct. 3 -- have held huge advantages in time of possession.

Samuel said it's important for the offense to get more first downs to keep the defense off the field, but he emphasized that it's also up to the defense to come up with stops when it has the chance.

"It's a team concept," Samuel said.

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