Defense gets upper hand in Schultz’s first spring game

Published 3:38 pm Friday, April 14, 2017

Lamar sports information

BEAUMONT – The first spring camp and Red and White game under new Lamar head football coach Mike Schultz is in the books as the Cardinals took to the field at Provost Umphrey Stadium Friday morning. The scrimmage was originally scheduled to be played Saturday but had to be moved due to the threat of storms in the area.

“We accomplished today what we wanted,” said Schultz. “We got a certain number of snaps with our ones and a certain number with our twos. We’re not where we want to be and we have a long way to go, but we are taking steps in the right direction.”

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Fans got their first glimpse of the new look Cardinals, and they were witness to an up-tempo offense and a defense that was flying to the football. All three LU quarterbacks saw significant time behind center, while several different running backs got their opportunity in the spotlight.

Big Red’s signal callers finished the game completing 20 of 33 (.606) passes for 195 yards, and two interceptions. Senior-to-be Andrew Allen completed 9 of 15 passes for 88 yards, but also threw the two picks. Rising junior Blake McKenzie was 8 of 13 for 85 yards. Port Neches-Groves product Adam Morse completed 3 of 5 passes for 22 yards.

The LU quarterbacks proved their elusiveness running the football led by Morse. The rising sophomore carried the ball twice for 40 yards, while Allen had four carries for 10 yards.

“Our quarterbacks are getting a better grasp of what we want to do,” said Schultz. “They’re understanding the speed and tempo which we want to play at. Just understanding that is a big deal and they’re doing a good job with it.”

The highlight of the ground game – which recorded the Cardinals’ two scores – came from Texas A&M transfer James White. The 6-foot, 220-pound White showed off his ability to pick up tough yards in traffic carrying the ball five times for 49 yards (9.8 per carry), including a 9-yard rush for a touchdown on his last carry.

“James is a hard runner,” said Schultz. “I think he will have a significant role. There are certain things that he does really well and we are going to try and put him in those situations and let him go.”

The Cardinals’ other touchdown came on a 1-yard carry from redshirt freshman Markell Hawthorne. The Iowa, La., native finished the game with four carries for 23 yards.

Even with the offensive highlights, the LU defense may have walked away with the upper hand Friday. The defense picked off two passes and forced three fumbles and kept the offense off the scoreboard until late in the scrimmage.

In addition to the turnovers, the defense also did a good job of penetrating into the backfield as well as batting away passes. The defense was credited with numerous stops behind the line of scrimmage, including two sacks. The defense also batted away three passes during the early stages of the scrimmage.

Rising sophomore Shyler Staton led the defense with three tackles and an interception, while senior-to-be Jaylon Bowden recorded a team-high four tackles. Rising sophomore Tariq Gordon finished the day with two tackles and two pass breakups. Sophomore-to-be Caleb Abrom recorded three stops and forced a fumble. Senior Manasseh Miles had two tackles, including a sack.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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