The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Missouri Southern Sports

August 28, 2013

Lions limit contact work during preseason drills

Keeping players healthy has been a top priority for the Missouri Southern Lions football team.

With a lack of depth and more than 60 new players on the roster, the Lions have avoided scrimmages and full-contact drills. Missouri Southern has dressed in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets through the majority of fall practices.

“We haven’t scrimmaged going into the first game because of some injuries that we’ve had and lack of depth,” Missouri Southern coach Daryl Daye said. “We just felt it was wise not to and to try to protect them and save their legs and keep them fresh for the game.

“We still don’t have enough depth across our team to fully scrimmage. If we get a few players hurt on offense or defense, we’d be struggling where we’d be better if we could protect them. It’s more of an NFL approach. It’s keeping people healthy. It’s keeping people on their feet. Teaching them fundamentals, and getting them flying around and playing football.”

The Lions are just a little more than a week from their season opener against Central Oklahoma on Sept. 5 at Fred G. Hughes Stadium.

Still, Daye is not ready to name starters at several positions.

That includes quarterback, where the Lions have had a three-player battle among sophomore Jay McDowell and junior college transfers Ty’Quan Hayes and Detavis Buggs.

McDowell, who played seven games in a reserve role last year and started during spring practices, continues to hold the lead and has taken a majority of the snaps with the first team.

“Jay is leading the bunch right now,” Daye said. “Ty’Quan is doing very well, too. I don’t have a problem with either one of those going into the game. Buggs, we’re trying to swing play him at a couple other positions, but he always could come in if we had to go to a third.”

Ricky Nichols, a redshirt freshman from Cassville, has been working some at wide receiver this fall but also is capable of directing the offense under center.

Freshman quarterbacks Corey Moss and Gabe Sachetta, of Joplin, are likely to redshirt.

The competition isn’t at quarterback alone. On offense and defense, the Lions have a lot of unknowns.

“We just have so many question marks on a lot of guys who are contending or rotating positions for a starting job that we’ve never seen play beyond a scrimmage,” Daye said.

“The question mark is the guys who we’ve never seen play in a game. What they’re going to do. How they’re going to respond. There are a lot of new kids, so we’ll be answering a lot of questions come next Thursday.”

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