Traded emails with Lamar University beat writer Christopher Dabe from the Beaumont Enterprise about the Cardinals and Saturday’s game.
Take a gander.
TM: Lamar has only allowed four sacks this season. Is the offensive line that good, Bevil that mobile, or have opposing defenses just not been creative enough?
CD: Bevil does a good job escaping pressure and making throws on the run. He makes good throws running to either sideline, and that mobility helps him avoid sacks.
Also helping matters is a beefed up offensive line, especially with a left side that includes Arkansas transfer Anthony Oden at tackle and former Southern Cal signee Daniel Campbell at guard. Lamar has played mostly with the same O-line group all season, and that consistency is a welcome change for the Cardinals, who dealt with all sorts of injuries last season.
So, to answer your question, it’s a little bit of both, but I’d give Bevil’s mobility a nod if I had to pick one. Even when opposing defenses pressure him, he gets away and tries to make a play.
TM: J.J. Hayes caught 10 passes for 212 yards last week against Northwestern State, but suffered a concussion on a late onside kick. First, does Hayes look like a man amongst boys at wide receiver? What makes him such a dangerous match-up for an opposing cornerback? Do you see his concussion limiting him Saturday night?
CD: Coach Ray Woodard said Monday he expects Hayes to play. Woodard said Hayes passed his concussion test and would practice without pads for a couple days and be suited up by the end of the week. The public (and media) does not have access to practices, so there’s no way for me to see how active Hayes is in practices. We might know more about Hayes after Woodard’s weekly press conference Thursday afternoon. But if Hayes is cleared to play, I’d like to think the concussion would not limit him.
As for Hayes’ ability, he’s not the fastest guy in the field, but he seems able to position his body in the last instant to box out the defender like a basketball player going up for a rebound. Hayes offers Bevil great security in the fact that the QB can seemingly wing the ball down field and Hayes has an ability to get his hands on the ball. You almost expect him to make catches. It’s a surprise when he doesn’t.
TM: Lamar has truly blossomed in only its second year back in existence as a football program. How has the Beaumont community responded to the Cardinals? Is there pressure to go to the Football Bowl Subdivision?
CD: The enthusiasm was in full force last season, when Lamar played its first four home games to overflow crowds. There seems to have been a slight drop from last season, but that might be because the newness is gone. The real test will be, say, in five years, when this is old hat.
As for an FBS move, I don’t know that there’s pressure. And really, what’s to say Lamar isn’t best off having Sam Houston, McNeese and SFA coming to town every other year? Those schools should draw bigger crowds than Utah State and Idaho, to name a couple WAC schools. But the Lamar administration entered this thing with big talk about taking Lamar football to the big time, so we’ll wait and see what the future offers.
TM: Two-fold prediction time: Who wins in a mascot fight to the death inside the Thunderdome – Big Red or Boko? Who wins Saturday?
CD: First of all, what’s a Boko? Let me look that up. … OK, I found some photos online. I’ll side with Boko in that fight. Boko has a more athletic build and has more “upside potential.”
As for the actual game, I think Texas State wins. The Bobcats option offense will catch Lamar defenders out of place enough to break some big plays, and the Lamar offense will struggle to overcome loss of two running backs to injuries.