Backup QB battle rages at Southeast Missouri State

Thursday, August 9, 2012
Southeast Missouri State quarterback Scott Lathrop throws a pass during practice last week at the Rosengarten Athletic Complex. (ADAM VOGLER)

Ohio University transfer Kyle Snyder has established himself as Southeast Missouri State's starting quarterback.

But there is no guarantee Snyder, a sophomore, will have the kind of durability that marked record-setting Matt Scheible's streak the past several seasons, especially since Southeast's option-based attack relies on the quarterback running the football.

Scheible made 35 consecutive starts to finish his career. The only time a backup was needed with Scheible at the helm was during mop-up action in blowouts.

"What Matt did was amazing. You can't count on that," Southeast coach Tony Samuel. "You always want to have a quality backup."

Southeast has four other quarterbacks on its roster, and the backup will come from that group that features a third-year sophomore, a redshirt freshman and two true freshmen. None ever has taken a college snap.

Scott Lathrop

Samuel believes the Redhawks will be able to find a capable backup, although it likely won't happen right away.

"We have to identify the whole thing," said Samuel, whose squad is in its first full week of preseason camp and will have its first of two scrimmages at 9 a.m. Saturday at Houck Stadium, which the public is invited to attend. "The dust will start to settle."

Third-year sophomore Tyler Peoples and redshirt freshman Scott Lathrop should have the upper hand on earning the backup job since they both have been in the program.

"They both can do some things," Samuel said. "They're capable."

Peoples thinks he's more than capable, but first he has to make sure he's able to staying healthy. That's been a problem for the native of Glendale, Ariz.

Tyler Peoples

Peoples had major surgery on both of his knees since coming to Southeast. He suffered the injuries while making cuts during practice, and his most recent surgery was in November.

"It's been frustrating," he said. "But I'm good now. I've done well rehabbing. I practice every day, full go."

Peoples redshirted in 2010 during his first year at Southeast and battled injuries last season. True freshman Trey Lewis emerged as Scheible's backup in 2011, but Lewis no longer is with the program.

"I'm hoping this year I finally get on the field," Peoples said.

Peoples, the younger brother of former Southeast standout wide receiver Walter Peoples, said all the quarterbacks get along well, and it's a friendly competition.

"We all get along, have fun in practice," Peoples said. "I feel we all have the same skill base. We all love the game.

"You have to stay positive. You have to prepare every day like you're going to play."

Lathrop would seem ideally suited for Southeast's offense because he ran a similar system at Warrenton (Mo.) High School.

He said spending last year practicing with the Redhawks while he redshirted was invaluable.

"We run a lot of spread option. I'm used to it from high school," Lathrop said. "I learned a lot last year. I feel like I have a better understanding of what we're trying to do."

While Lathrop hopes to win the backup job, he said the competition among the quarterbacks is far from cutthroat.

"I'm trying to do the best I can do," Lathrop said. "We all compete, make each other better. We're all good friends."

Samuel has not yet seen enough of true freshmen Colby Baker from Hardee, Fla., and Blake Jackson from Houston to know where they might fit in or whether they'll redshirt, which is a strong possibility.

But Samuel does like the potential of the Redhawks' youngest signal callers.

"They're both showing promise," he said. "We'll see how it all sorts out."

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