Southeast Missouri State QB Snyder gains comfort in football team's offense

Sunday, April 15, 2012
Southeast Missouri State quarterback Kyle Snyder throws a pass during Saturday's scrimmage at Houck Stadium. Check out more photos from the scrimmage at semoball.com. (ADAM VOGLER)

Kyle Snyder appears to be the heavy favorite in the battle to replace Southeast Missouri State record-setting quarterback Matt Scheible.

But Snyder is taking nothing for granted. The transfer from Football Bowl Subdivision program Ohio University doesn't expect the job to be handed to him.

"It's an open competition," Snyder said Saturday following Southeast's first spring scrimmage at Houck Stadium that concluded the Redhawks' second week of spring practice. "It won't be given to anybody."

Snyder by all accounts has acclimated himself well to the Redhawks since arriving on campus in January as the heir apparent to Scheible, who completed his eligibility in 2011.

"He's fast and he's got an arm," wide receiver D.J. Foster said. "He seems like he's getting the hang of it. He's fitting in perfect."

Southeast Missouri State defensive end Justin Love runs for a touchdown after making an interception during Saturday's scrimmage at Houck Stadium. (ADAM VOGLER)

Snyder appears to have the necessary skills required to operate Southeast's offense that features plenty of option principles.

"He's talented. He can run and he throws the ball well," Southeast coach Tony Samuel said. "He's picked up the offense. He's working on getting his comfort zone."

It doesn't hurt Snyder that he operated in an offense at Ohio that was similar to what the Redhawks run.

"Real similar," said the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Snyder, who will have three seasons of eligibility at Southeast. "The only difference is we ran one-back and no-huddle, but everything else is pretty much the same."

Although it's a small sample size, Snyder was solid in limited playing time as a redshirt freshman last year. He completed 5 of 8 passes for 38 yards and rushed 13 times for 80 yards in five games at Ohio, which went 9-4 and won the Mid-American Conference East Division championship.

Southeast Missouri State wide receiver D.J. Foster runs with the ball after making a catch Saturday.

Snyder said he enjoyed his time with the Bobcats but didn't see himself getting much playing time, at least for a while. Tyler Tettleton, who threw for more than 3,300 yards and rushed for more than 600 yards last year, still has two seasons of eligibility.

"He was a year ahead of me when I got there, and I felt like I was never given the chance to prove myself," Snyder said. "He did a really good job, and he's a good quarterback."

Snyder made the decision to transfer. He said one of Ohio's coaches was familiar with Samuel, so Southeast became a possible destination.

"After I asked for my release, Southeast Missouri got brought up," said Snyder, a native of Barberton, Ohio. "At first I didn't know. ... It was too far from home, about 10 hours.

"But the more I looked at it, there were a lot of positives. They've got a great coaching staff, the offenses are real similar."

Snyder, who set career records at Barberton High School for passing yards (6,553) and touchdown passes (64) while finishing his prep career with 85 touchdowns and 8,233 yards of offense, is glad he made the move to Southeast.

"I love it," he said. "I feel like I fit in well on and off the field."

While Snyder believes he is progressing well, he said he has a long way to go to get a complete grasp of the offense.

"Coach has been talking a lot about fundamentals," he said. "That's really important. I'm learning a lot each and every day. I feel like I'm coming along well, but I'm still nowhere near where I want to be. It's a work in progress."

Snyder said he's been aided in the process by Scheible, Southeast's career leader in total offense who has remained with the program as a student coach this spring.

"It's a huge benefit," Snyder said. "He's seen it. He knows what it takes to be successful. Having him around is huge."

Snyder was impressive in Saturday's scrimmage while directing the first-team offense. He completed 4 of 9 passes for 23 yards but had at least three passes dropped. He rushed for 39 yards on eight carries even though the whistle blew any time a defender got close to a quarterback in order to avoid potential injury.

"A couple of those runs, no way I was going to get tackled," Snyder said with a laugh. "But I missed some throws."

Others taking snaps at quarterback this spring are Tyler Peoples, Zach Levy and Scott Lathrop. None has appeared in a college game.

Peoples has been in the program two years. He redshirted as a freshman in 2010.

Levy has been in the program three years, while Lathrop redshirted as a freshman last season.

Southeast also signed two high school senior quarterbacks who will join the program for fall practice.

"It'll unfold," Samuel said about the quarterback competition.

Snyder feels the same way. He said he already has formed a solid bond with all the signal callers, and who emerges as the starter is not at the top of his priority list.

"We're close. It's a friendly competition," Snyder said. "I'm not really trying to focus on that [who the starter is going to be]. I'm focused on learning the offense and learning my guys in the backfield."

Two touchdowns

There were two touchdowns scored Saturday, on a 57-yard interception return by defensive end Justin Love off a short Levy pass and a 45-yard strike from Levy to wide receiver Matt Bell.

Tailback Levi Terrell, who missed Southeast's last six games of 2011 with a broken collarbone, was the leading rusher with 63 yards on seven carries.

"Today was all about getting our timing down," Samuel said. "We wanted to work on the execution phase of things and get that first spring scrimmage under our belt."

Southeast's second and final scrimmage will be at 1 p.m. Saturday. The spring intrasquad game that concludes spring practice will be at noon April 28.

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