Southeastern continues competition during spring drills despite mother nature
HAMMOND, La. – For the first time this spring, Mother Nature forced the Southeastern Louisiana football team to cancel one of its practice sessions Thursday.
While the heavy thunderstorms in the Hammond area forced the Lions off the Strawberry Stadium turf, SLU second-year head coach Frank Scelfo and his staff wanted to give the student-athletes an opportunity to have some fun at the Tangi Lanes bowling alley in Hammond.
Though the activity was loose and gave the team its first break from on-field work, Scelfo and his staff wanted to maintain the spirit of competition that has permeated his roster throughout spring practice. During Thursday’s bowling trip, the Lions split up into teams based on position groups. Scores were kept that pitted offense versus defense, with a special reward for the best team.
“The weather can keep us off the practice field, but we are going to be competing every day,” Scelfo commented as he watches his Lions match up on the lanes. “We want our guys trying to be the best in everything they do. We’ve had such positive energy across the board this spring and we felt coming here and doing something fun as a team would maintain the positive vibes and high-competition level.”
Many of the Lions on the offensive side of the ball have thrived on the competition thus far this spring. For Scelfo, Southeastern’s offensive progress starts at the point of attack.
“We’ve really made some strides on the offensive line and that has helped every facet of our offense,” Scelfo commented. “We’re running the ball better, which was one of the things we greatly needed to improve. A lot of that has to do with Marcus Cooper and Devonte Williams in the backfield – both of those guys are having great springs, running with a purpose and showing explosiveness. But, our offensive line playing more technically sound and disciplined is key to our running game improvement.”
Scelfo singled out Rendon Miles-Character for his progress this spring and indicated the St. Augustine High product has the leg up at right tackle, as a book end to returning All-Southland Conference left tackle Pat Allen. Guards Jarius Gooch and newcomer Jalen Bell, as well as center Drew Jones have also impressed on the interior.
“We feel good about where we’re at with our starting group up front,” Scelfo said. “But, we have to continue to develop more depth. (Redshirt freshmen) Brendon Kelley and Brennen Lanclos are starting to make some strides for us as spring progresses.”
Depth is not an issue at receiver, as the Lions return top pass catchers Juwan Petit-Frere, Austin Mitchell and CJ Turner.
“Juwan, Austin and CJ have really separated themselves with their play during the spring,” Scelfo commented. “Lorenzo Nunez is an x-factor for us as he continues to grow after making the full-time switch to wide receiver. He can open up our offense once he’s more comfortable. Shyron White and Anthony Spurlock have both been good for us this spring, as well.
“We’re going to have two big weapons at tight end, as well,” Scelfo added. “We expect another big year from (2018 first team All-Southland selection) Bransen Schwebel. (Newcomer) Matt DeBlaiso has great hands and can definitely be another good option for us in the passing game.”
Who will be throwing the ball to all the pass-catching options is perhaps the biggest question on the offensive side of the ball, as SLU has a pair of viable options. Incumbent starter Chason Virgil is back after leading the league in passing yards last season, but is competing with Cole Kelley, who transferred in from Arkansas in January.
“Chason and Cole are both having good springs and we’re comfortable with either of them running the offense,” Scelfo stated. “Right now, Chason’s ahead due to his knowledge of our system, but Cole has all the tools. We won’t have a starter after spring practice. It’s going to be an evolving battle all the way through fall camp up to the opening game.”
Southeastern will return to the Strawberry Stadium practice field on Saturday at 10 a.m. The April 13 Spring Game, set for 2 p.m. as part of Super Lion Saturday, closes out spring practice.
2019 Southeastern Football Spring Practice Schedule
Saturday, April 6 – 9:50 a.m.
Tuesday, April 9 – 3:50 p.m.
Thursday, April 11 – 3:50 p.m.
Saturday, April 13 – Spring Game – 2 p.m.
For more information on Southeastern Football, follow @SLUFootball and @Coach_Scelfo on Twitter, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.
TOUCHDOWN CLUB/S CLUB
Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the football program are encouraged to join the Touchdown Club. Lion football alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letter winners.
All membership fees and donations to both the Touchdown Club and S Club (football) are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern football program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.
CLEAR BAG POLICY
Southeastern Athletics has instituted a clear bag policy for all ticketed events, effective with the start of football season. For more information on the clear bag policy, visit www.LionSports.net/clear.
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