The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Missouri Southern Sports

August 10, 2012

Lions' football roster includes approximately 70 first-year players

Missouri Southern junior quarterback Kyle Webster has more to learn this fall than directing an option offense.

The Lions have several new players this season, and Webster doesn’t know all their names.

“We’ve gone to the (cafeteria) three times, and I think I see five or six new faces every time,” he said. “We introduced ourselves the first day, but there are 120-plus guys here, and I think we doubled our numbers from spring. There is a lot of getting-to-know-guys to do, but we’re all going to become friends quickly. I can tell.

“It’s just like we started new with new coaches. New offense, we’ve gotten new gear and now we’re seeing new faces. ... Something new every day.”

The Lions began fall camp with a 21⁄2-hour practice Thursday night at Fred G. Hughes Stadium, and they were greeted by temperatures much cooler than the last several weeks accompanied by a steady breeze.

“I think it was a great move on our head trainer’s part to suggest that we move the practice to night,” head coach Daryl Daye said. “I’m going to give Darin Moore the credit for it.

“We decided to miss the heat. It’s been really hot lately, and we’re trying to protect these kids from having an emergency situation.”

The Lions’ roster includes approximately 70 players who are first-year players in the program, and Daye was as anxious as anyone to see them in action — even in a padless workout.

“I’m wondering what we are right now,” he said. “Seventy new kids are here, and we’re trying to figure out who’s who, what they are and how fast we can evaluate them. We’re staying really simple right now and making sure we get proper evaluations on the ones who are here, get them in the right positions and get them ready in 11 days before school starts.”

The abundance of new players comes naturally with the change in coaches.

“I expected maybe a little more,” Daye said. “We established some pretty strong discipline, and not a lot of kids want to do that nowadays. The ones who buy in will benefit from it. You’re going to care about your community. You’re going to care about your academics, and you’re going to care about your brothers on the football team.

“Some guys don’t want to do that. Some guys want to be all about (themselves). Some guys want the freedom to go out and explore other things. Some guys are going to have to go other places.”

Missouri Southern’s coaches were pleased with progress made during 15 spring workouts, but they hated to see them end. The hope is to pick up this month where spring football ended.

“I feel like right off the bat we were moving just like (at the end) of spring (practice),” Webster said. “We were a little shaky here and there starting out because we’ve had a whole two months off, but once we got back in the flow, everybody was back on the same page and plays were running smooth.”

Running smooth despite the fact that Webster and senior Kellen Cox, who’s been shifted from wide receiver to quarterback, are the least experienced with the option attack.

“We have three new quarterbacks, and they’ve run it more in high school than me and Kellen have,” Webster said. “Everybody seems to have caught on pretty quickly. Coach (Bob) Howell (offensive coordinator) does a great job of breaking it down step by step. He makes it easy to understand. He makes sure we understand it before he moves on.”

The Lions will practice once daily during the next four days before going twice on on Tuesday.

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