Lathrop performs well in Southeast Missouri State football team's scrimmage

Sunday, August 12, 2012
Southeast Missouri State's DeMichael Jackson carries the ball during Saturday's scrimmage at Houck Stadium. Check out more photos from the scrimmage at (Fred Lynch)

The offense and defense both came away feeling fairly good about things during Southeast Missouri State's first scrimmage of preseason camp.

But the Redhawks acknowledged that both units still have considerable improvement to make following Saturday morning's 70-minute session at Houck Stadium that featured plenty of 7-on-7 work in addition to the live scrimmaging.

"I think it went pretty well. I felt like we made a lot of strides, came together as a team," senior tailback Renard Celestin said. "But we still have a long way to go."

Said senior defensive end Justin Love: "I thought we held our own. I feel like we have a lot of leadership on defense. I feel good about the defense, but we're still trying to fine-tune things. We just have to keep working."

There was only one touchdown scored, a 1-yard run by redshirt freshman quarterback Scott Lathrop.

Southeast Missouri State's Renard Celestin catches a pass during Saturday's scrimmage at Houck Stadium. (Fred Lynch)

Lathrop, the apparent front-runner to be Southeast's starter after Kyle Snyder suffered a season-ending knee injury Friday, led the best drive of the day for the offense that resulted in the TD.

Lathrop hit junior wide receiver D.J. Foster with a 28-yard pass to set up the score. Lathrop completed all five of his attempts for 72 yards.

"I feel like I did well," Lathrop said. "I managed the offense pretty well."

Lathrop was credited with 16 yards rushing on eight carries, although true rushing yards by quarterbacks in scrimmages are hard to gauge because officials are instructed to blow the whistle whenever a defender is close to the QB.

Sophomore Spencer Davis, who broke off some huge runs on wide-receiver pitches last year, ripped off a 42-yarder Saturday. He led all rushers with 51 yards on just two carries.

Southeast Missouri State wide receiver D.J. Foster tries to break through red team defenders Josh Freeman, left, and Sam Poole during a scrimmage Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 at Houck Stadium. (Fred Lynch)

Although Southeast returns its top three tailbacks from last season, true freshman DeMichael Jackson showed that he might have to receive consideration for playing time.

Jackson displayed an impressive burst during a 22-yard run. He was Southeast's second-leading rusher with 34 yards on six carries.

"He's having a good camp," Southeast coach Tony Samuel said. "He has good vision. He runs and catches the ball well."

Foster led the receivers with two catches for 47 yards. Celestin rushed for 28 yards on four carries and added two receptions for 21 yards.

"I thought we looked really good on offense," senior guard Colt McCauley said.

Southeast Missouri State quarterback Scott Lathrop hands off to Levi Terrell, right, as Ron Coleman prepares to block Saturday.

Samuel didn't go that far on either side of the ball, although he seemed pleased with Saturday's session. He said he'll know more after watching the film.

"Not too bad for a first scrimmage," said Samuel, who didn't have his top offensive and defensive units square off against each other very much. "They should be a little tired because of camp. We are working on a lot of things. Overall I was pleased."

Samuel said he'll expect considerable improvement when Southeast holds its second and final scrimmage at 1 p.m. Saturday. That will mark the end of the Redhawks' preseason camp. Classes begin Aug. 20.

"Next week will be important," Samuel said. "Your second game is usually the highest rate of improvement. It's the same with scrimmages."

Senior safety Branden Spann led the defense with four tackles.

Senior tackle Josyah O'Keefe-Lopez, senior linebacker Darrick Borum, sophomore linebacker Daniel Siehndel and sophomore linebacker David Smart all were credited with sacks.

"The first scrimmage, we had a few mistakes here and there," All-American senior linebacker Blake Peiffer said about the defense. "We're still working the kinks out. It's still early."

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