SOUTHEAST MISSOURI BEGINS SPRING FOOTBALL DRILLS
March 23, 2004
Cape Girardeau, Mo. - Spring practice for the Southeast Missouri State University football team will begin on Saturday, 1:30 p.m., at Houck Stadium.
Southeast returns 31 lettermen including 16 starters from last year's team that won five of its final seven games to finish 5-7 overall and 5-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference.
"We have a lot of players coming back and we have a lot of young players that we look forward to seeing what they can do," said Southeast coach Tim Billings who is recovering from double knee replacement surgery. "It will be important to develop a team chemistry and for our new offensive and defensive coordinators to get to know the players and for the players to get to know them and work with them."
Rob Likens, an assistant at Temple the last seven seasons, is the offensive coordinator and Damon Bradford, an assistant at Tennessee Tech the last four seasons, is the new defensive coordinator.
"Our new coordinators are anxious to get on the field and assess our talent," said Billings who will be in his fifth season as Southeast head coach. "They are both comfortable with our offensive and defensive systems and they just have to find the right players to get the desired results."
Offensively, Southeast returns seven starters and all-OVC kicker Derek Kutz. "We have two excellent quarterbacks in Andrew Goodenough, last year's starter down the stretch, and Mike Haley, a transfer from Santa Monica Community College," Billings said. "We have a solid group of receivers including newcomers Brian Matthews, a transfer from East Tennessee State, and Oge Oge, a transfer from Hinds Community College."
The Indians return five of last year's top six receivers including All-American tight end Ray Goodson who led the team in receiving with 66 catches for 623 yards and three touchdowns.
"We lost three members of our offensive line to graduation including Rimington Award Winner and All-American center Eugene Amano," but we feel we have backups who will move up and do a good job and we have some good offensive linemen coming in for the fall," Billings said. "We are thin in the offensive line this spring and we will have to be careful how we work with the offensive line because of the lack of depth."
Defensively, the big losses were at linebacker and finding a new group of linebackers to go with veteran O.J. Turner will be one of the objectives of spring drills.
Southeast will conclude spring practice with the annual Spring Game on Saturday, April 24, 6 p.m., at Houck Stadium.