Southeastern, Tulane ready to square off in Tiger Stadium

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 4, 2005

BATON ROUGE — After spending last weekend on the sidelines with its only open date of the season, the Southeastern Lions football team got back to work Tuesday in preparation for Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. tilt against Tulane University at LSU’s Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge.

But after opening the season with a 1-1 record including most recently a loss on the road at Northern Colorado, and struggling, like everyone else in the region through two hurricanes, Southeastern head coach Dennis Roland was glad the open date fell where it did.

“I thought we had a good week of practice,” explained Roland. “The open week came at a good time. The week we missed due to Hurricane Katrina hurt us and it showed in the Northern Colorado game. Last week we were able to work more on fundamentals and improving on the little things.”

The Lions started slowly against Northern Colorado and despite falling 35-19 in their first road test of the season, Roland saw some positives.

“We played much better in the second half against Northern Colorado,” Roland said. “We got behind early and they dropped back to take away our ability to throw the ball downfield. (Quarterback) Trey (Willie) did a good job taking what the defense gave him and hitting the short passes. He has such a great ability to get out of the pocket and run but I’d like to see him stay in the pocket a little longer and go through his progressions. We worked on that this week and expect him to show continued improvement with each passing game.”

But as the Lions prepare to face their first Division I-A opponent since Troy University in 2003, Willie and the vaunted Air Raid offense will be tested against the top-ranked defense in the country.

“Tulane’s defense is very talented and manhandled Mississippi State and SMU in the first two games. I haven’t found any weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball. Their front four is the best we’ll have faced so far this season. They have very athletic linebackers and have playmakers in the secondary.”

But regardless of the different Divisions and what the statistical rankings may predict, the game still needs to be played and Roland and his team are excited about the opportunity.

“The players and coaches are excited about playing in Tiger Stadium,” added Roland. “We are approaching the game with the belief that we have a chance to win. We know we’re playing a good Conference USA team and we’ll have to stretch in some areas to get to their level.

“But winning this game isn’t going to make our season and losing it isn’t going to break it. We want this game to be business as usual and we want to go out and compete hard for 60 minutes. It’s important for us to get into a routine after all the turmoil in the last few weeks. This game will be a great test going into conference play.”