Aug 13, 2013
BEAUMONT - With eight preseason practices in the books for the Lamar football team, head coach Ray Woodard has liked what he's seen from his offense thus far, especially in the receiving corps.
"I think we have few more explosive players on offense this year," Woodard said. "Our quarterbacks have done a better job of getting the ball to them, and if there's only one knock, it's that we need to be more consistent. It's nice that we have the players that can make the big plays, but we shouldn't need to depend on those kinds of plays."
In addition to players like Kevin Johnson and Jordan Edwards, who each put together three-touchdown games in 2012, Woodard's also liked what he's seen out of some of the receivers who haven't gotten the headlines.
"I've really like how Reggie Begelton's played so far," the fourth-year coach said of the Beaumont native. "I don't think we've seen him at 100% yet, but his leg is healthy now. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do this year. Jayce Nelson was also off to a good start before he picked up a knock, and Kade Harrington might be a running back, but he catches the ball a lot too. He's been very impressive for a freshman."
"Most of us are in our second year with this offense, and that really helps us," Begelton explained. "We're running our routes a lot better and we're motivating each other every day. We love to play this up-tempo style. We're in great condition, and we're trying to tire the defense out so we can continue to create big plays."
Even with the offense clicking, the defense hasn't been a slouch by any means. The Cardinals were the top passing defense in the Southland Conference last season, an achievement that senior corner Branden Thomas
looks carry into this season.
"We have some younger guys out there in the secondary with us this season," said the Beaumont Central graduate. "We'll be alright, and I think we'll be getting some of those mistakes we've had corrected in the next few days. We may have a true freshman out there getting reps with the first team, but we're all working hard and making strides to get better each and every day."
"I think the defense may have underestimated the offense a time or two on some of those big plays, but I'm not worried about it," Woodard said. "We have a lot of seniors on this roster and the coaching staff is almost intact from a year ago. We're never going to play a mistake-free game, but we should be a lot closer to it this season."
The defensive backfield has shown off its flair for the big play at times this preseason as well, and perhaps none more impressively than George Orebe, who scored on a long interception return during Saturday's scrimmage. Tyrus McGlothen also picked off a pass over the weekend.
"Those types of plays just energize us," Thomas said. "Every time that we get something like that, it gives the whole defense a boost, and we want to run back out there and try to do it again."
With much of the team taking final exams on Wednesday, LU held a shortened practice on Tuesday evening. The Cards will return to regular practice on Wednesday at 7 p.m. On Thursday, will hold their first two-a-day of the fall, with a morning session at 9 a.m. and an evening session set to begin at 7 p.m. All preseason practices are open to the public.