Defense shines at second LU football spring scrimmage
BEAUMONT, Texas – The Lamar Cardinals ran approximately 60 plays in Saturday’s scrimmage to close out the second week of spring camp. The scrimmage highlighted the potential of Lamar’s young, inexperienced defense which came through for several big plays.
Facing an offense that returns the majority of its starters from a record-setting 2013 campaign, the defense took center stage Saturday. The Cardinals’ defense combined to record seven tackles for losses – including four sacks – four pass break ups and two fumbles, one of which was returned 98 yard for a touchdown.
“I was very proud of our defense today,” said head coach Ray Woodard. “We have so many new faces on that side of the ball that we are going to see some inconsistency until they get the experience. With so many pieces of the puzzle returning on offense, I think we will go as far as our defense will take us.
“These guys continue to get better with more reps, and we, as a staff, are hoping that will continue throughout the offseason and into 2014, so by the time we get to conference our defense is a cohesive unit. We are hoping it will be similar to last year where the offense struggled a bit early but really came on down the stretch. We are looking for similar improvement from our defense this year,” added Woodard.
Lamar’s first team defense forced the first offense off the field after surrendering just one first down, but it was the second-team offense that recorded the first big play of the day. Sophomore-to-be Rex Dausin found Jayce Nelson for a 68-yard completion for the touchdown. It was one of six receptions the Port Neches native made on the day. He finished the scrimmage with six catches for 107 yards.
Following the scoring play, 2013 starting quarterback Caleb Berry guided the offense down the field mixing an effective run game while completing all three of his pass attempts during the drive. Despite allowing the offense to move the ball, the defense got the stop without surrendering a score.
It was Berry’s next series on the field when the defense took center stage. The defense forced the LU offense into the negative on five consecutive plays. Linebacker Mike Hargis got things started with the first sack of the scrimmage, followed by Logan Moss knocking down a pass at the line of scrimmage. That was followed by a Keith Curran sack and a deflected pass by Montez Hunter. The very next play saw David Hollyfield breakup a Robert Mitchell pass attempt.
Lamar’s signal callers finished the game19-of-30 (.633) for 258 yards and four touchdowns. Dausin had his best outing of the spring completing 8-of-9 (.889) passes for 148 yards and three touchdowns, while Berry was 9-of-15 for 73 yards a score. Although redshirt freshman Robert Mitchell finished the day 2-of-6 (.333) passing, he was very effective carrying the ball four times for 61 yards and a score.
Lamar ran the ball 23 times for 146 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore-to-be Emmitt Raleigh had nine carries for 37 yards, while transfer Carl Holmes six rushes for 37 yards.
Junior to-be Reggie Begelton hauled in only three catches on the day, but one of them was a 12-yard TD pass from Berry. Junior-to-be Gratian Gladney added three receptions for 68 yards and two scores.
Hunter led the LU’s defense with five stops, while transfer Tylond Robertson added for tackles. Moss recorded four tackles, including two sacks, and a pass break up while Curran added four tackles and a sack. Junior-to-be Tommie Barrett forced the fumble on the two-yard line that was recovered and returned 98 yards for a score by Xavier Bethany.
The Cardinals return to practice Monday with a 7 p.m. workout. The annual Crawfish Bowl will be Saturday, March 1 at noon from Provost Umphrey Stadium.