Aug. 24, 2012
BEAUMONT - New offensive coordinator Larry Kueck brings nearly three decades of coaching experience to the Cardinals, including a previous three-year stint in the same position with Lamar University 23 years ago.
Kueck served under head coach Ray Alborn from 1986-89 and during that time, Lamar put up the most prolific numbers in school history. Quarterback John Evans set school records for single season and career passing yards that still stand today with Kueck directing the offense.
Kueck has a group of five quarterbacks to work with this season at Lamar with redshirt sophomore Caleb Berry (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) being the only one with returning experience. Junior transfer Ryan Mossakowski (6-4, 215) played last year at Northwest Mississippi Community College after two seasons at Kentucky.
There is also a trio of freshmen working out at the position. Dillon Barrett (6-4, 220) redshirted last year at Fort Scott Community College, while Matt Bergeron (5-11, 180) and David Dunkin (5-11, 190) are true freshmen.
"It's going really well," said Kueck about the fall practices. "We had Caleb and Ryan who were with us all spring and their retention has been really good. Then we have the three young guys and they are really exceeding what I thought they would be able to grasp at this point.
"I'm pleased with how our kids are working. They're attacking things really well. They're trying to get better and we have a bunch of guys who care. It's a long season and the big thing you try to do offensively is try to be a little bit better each week."
Heading into the final week of practice, Mossakowski and Berry are battling for the starting spot with both players looking comfortable in the role of lead signal caller. In Saturday's second scrimmage, Berry finished 9-of-12 for 73 yards and a touchdown. Mossakowski was 10-of-22 for 80 yards and a score.
"We try to work them both with the ones and twos," said Kueck about the reps that Berry and Mossakowski are getting. "I'm comfortable with either one of those young men in there. I've been really surprised with Dillon, as well. His grasp is really good."
After redshirting in 2010, Berry appeared in three games for the Cardinals last season. Berry's best game came in the season finale against McNeese State when he completed 16-of-23 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown. He also hit receiver J.J. Hayes for a 17-yard reception to give Hayes his school record 14th catch of the game.
"Caleb is very competitive," noted Kueck. "He does a good job and grasps things well. He has a nice quick release, maybe the best release I've been around. He's a darn good athlete."
After playing in two games for Kentucky over two seasons, Mossakowski earned second team all-conference honors last year at Northwest Mississippi. He finished his season with 2,422 yards and 26 touchdowns, including a 443-yard, five-touchdown effort in his first junior college game.
"Ryan's played a lot of football," said Kueck about Mossakowski's strengths. "He's a fourth-year junior and that's one thing that helps you. He was at Kentucky playing for a great quarterback coach and then he got to start a year at the JC. He's just got a pretty good handle on what it takes to be a quarterback.
"Dillon has a chance to be special. He has good size and speed. I think Dillon has a tremendous future in front of him.
"Matt ran a lot of spread offense in high school and they were pretty intricate so he grasps things really quick. He's a gutsy competitor and he's really hard not to like."
Lamar opens the season at Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. The Cardinals' home opener will be the following Saturday (Sept. 8) at 7 p.m. when Prairie View A&M visits Provost Umphrey Stadium. Lamar will host five games following the Prairie View A&M contest. Highlights of the home schedule include the homecoming contest against McMurray at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 and a Southland Conference game against national runner-up Sam Houston State at 3 p.m. Oct. 27.
Tickets can be purchased at the Montagne Center ticket office, by calling (409) 880-1715, or visiting www.LamarCardinals.com.