Battle to replace Scheible at Southeast Missouri State's quarterback set to start

Thursday, March 29, 2012
Southeast Missouri State football coach Tony Samuel led the Redhawks to a 3-8 record one season after guiding the team to the Ohio Valley Conference title and its first playoff berth on any level. (Missourian file)

The Southeast Missouri State football team followed one of the top seasons in program history with a disappointing campaign.

Southeast takes the first official step toward having another season more like 2010 than last year when the Redhawks kick off spring practice at 6 a.m. Monday morning.

"It's huge," Southeast coach Tony Samuel said about spring practices. "It's very important."

The Redhawks lost 20 seniors in 2010, but a majority of last year's key players will return with the notable exception being record-setting quarterback Matt Scheible.

The battle to replace Scheible will begin during spring workouts.

The top early front-runners appear to be Kyle Snyder and Trey Lewis.

Snyder is a transfer from Football Bowl Subdivision program Ohio University, where he saw limited action as a redshirt freshman reserve last year.

Snyder enrolled at Southeast in January so he can participate in spring practice.

Lewis is Southeast's only other quarterback who has appeared in a college game. The Sikeston, Mo., native saw limited action as a true freshman last season after winning the job to back up Scheible.

Also in the mix is sophomore Tyler Peoples, who has been in the program two years but has not appeared in a game. He redshirted as a freshman in 2010.

"I expect it to be a stiff competition," Samuel said about the quarterback battle. "It's wide open. We're just getting started. We still have to get a handle on that."

Samuel believes experience -- or a lack of it -- was the biggest reason the 2011 Redhawks went 3-8, including a seventh-place 2-6 in the nine-team Ohio Valley Conference.

That came after the 2010 Redhawks went 9-3 overall and 7-1 in conference play to win the program's first OVC title and earn its first playoff berth on any level.

Southeast had to replace 14 starters from 2010, and the Redhawks couldn't fill all those holes well enough. Four of Southeast's six OVC losses last year were by eight points or less, including consecutive one-point defeats to end the season.

"We were close," said Samuel, who will be in his seventh season at the helm of the Redhawks this fall. "Two years ago we won those close games and last year we didn't."

Samuel hopes the 2012 Redhawks will be able to reverse some of those narrow defeats from last season with more experience.

"We've got some talented guys. Naturally they should have improved," Samuel said. "With so many people coming back, it won't be the first time they've been through the system."

The NCAA allows college football teams 15 spring practices, including a spring game, which the Redhawks will play at noon April 28. Southeast also will hold scrimmages at noon April 14 and 21.

Southeast primarily will practice at 6 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays leading up to the spring game. The public is invited to attend all practices and scrimmages, which are at Houck Stadium.

"We've only got 15 practices. We need to make them count," Samuel said. "We start with the fundamentals and go from there."

The Redhawks open the 2012 season Aug. 30 at FBS program Central Michigan. The Chippewas went 3-9 overall and 2-6 in the Mid-American Conference last year.

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