Four Southeast Missouri State football players compete for backup QB

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Southeast Missouri State's Matt Scheible ranks among the nation's most durable quarterbacks on any level.

The all-Ohio Valley Conference senior, who has made 24 consecutive starts, took every 2010 snap for Southeast, so chances are the Redhawks won't need to rely on another player at that vital position this year.

But in case the situation arises, Scheible and Southeast coach Tony Samuel believe the Redhawks have some solid options.

"They're all doing a good job," Scheible said.

Four other quarterbacks are on the roster, with none having taken a snap in a college game. Samuel said the competition to be Scheible's backup has been fierce during preseason practice.

"They're all working hard and competing. They're all students of the game," Samuel said. "I like the quarterback situation."

With less than two weeks to go before the Sept. 3 season opener at home against Southern Illinois, it appears true freshman Trey Lewis and redshirt freshman Tyler Peoples are the top candidates to emerge as the backup.

Lewis, from Sikeston, Mo., has opened plenty of eyes so far in practice. He is a gifted athlete who, like Scheible, is a dual-threat quarterback. Lewis directed an offense in high school last year that is similar to what the Redhawks employ.

"Trey is a raw talent," Scheible said about a player who was not a quarterback until his senior year at Sikeston High School. "He has a lot of room to expand his game and get better."

Said Samuel: "Trey's talented. They're all talented kids."

Peoples, the younger brother of former Southeast standout wide receiver Walter Peoples, was last year's backup for most of the season although the Glendale, Ariz., native never got in a game.

"Tyler is doing well, as always," Scheible said.

Sophomore Zach Levy, in his third year in the program -- he redshirted in 2009 -- had a strong 2010 spring to emerge No. 2 on the depth chart but missed valuable practice time with an infection, which set him back. He did not see action last season.

Levy, from Francis Howell Central High School in St. Peters, Mo., has been splitting time between quarterback and wide receiver in practice.

"He's doing both and he's doing well," Scheible said.

Also in the mix is true freshman Scott Lathrop from Warrenton, Mo. He also is a legitimate dual-threat in the mold of Scheible and Lewis.

Interestingly, Lathrop led Warrenton High School past Sikeston in last year's Class 4 semifinals. The Warriors then lost in the state championship game.

"Trey and Scott have really picked it up well for true freshmen," Scheible said.

While a coach hopes he never is forced into using the backup quarterback, it's a reality that the No. 2 signal caller is always only one play away from being needed.

"You always have to consider who your next guy is," Samuel said.

But Samuel, in response to a question following Saturday's second and final scrimmage that ended training camp, said with a laugh that it's way too early to even contemplate who next season's guy might be after Scheible completes his eligibility.

"You're talking about next year. I'm worried about looking at the film of this [scrimmage]," Samuel said.

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