HAMMOND — Saturday’s game against UAB served as a break from the Southland Conference, and a break from the FCS for Southeastern Louisiana.
After winning its first two conference games, the Lions ended up on the wrong side of a 52-3 defeat. Leading up to the game, SLU coach Ron Roberts said he expected his players to prepare for UAB as if it was a conference game.
But he admitted Tuesday during a news conference that his players may not have had proper motivation, resulting in a less-than-stellar performance.
“I wasn’t happy with how we executed,” Roberts said. “I wanted to see us execute better than the week before, and I thought we were going to do that. We didn’t step back in mistakes, but we did see where some weaknesses pop out. Obviously when you’re facing someone like that, those weaknesses turn into critical errors.”
To take a positive from the UAB rout, Roberts said his coaching staff noticed some new things to work on in preparation for SLU’s return to Southland play Saturday against Northwestern State.
Though his players may have wondered where the importance was against the Blazers, Roberts said his team won’t have any trouble getting pumped for the Demons.
“I don’t think there’s any problem right now getting them focused,” he said. “It’s a conference game. It’s Northwestern. They know a lot of those kids. I don’t see any reason why we’d have any problems regaining focus.”
Chaney out for season
Roberts officially confirmed that starting running back Michael Chaney will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.
Chaney, a senior, ran 18 times for 49 yards against Lamar on Sept. 29 before going down late in the game. He had 75 total yards with a touchdown before the injury.
“That’s sad to see, because he was really coming into his groove against Lamar,” Roberts said. “It’s sad to see a kid end his senior year like that. He was getting better every time he took the field. ... He went out positive, so hopefully he feels great about what he was able to do.”
As Roberts said last week, he will turn to Blaine LeBlanc along with freshmen Xavier Roberson and Rasheed Harrell to carry the load left by Chaney.
With the bye week coming after the Northwestern State game, Roberts said he’s looking forward to getting some guys healthy that have had nagging injuries the past couple of weeks.
Linebacker Tay Alford has played sparingly with an ankle sprain. Fellow linebacker Devan Walker, who leads the team with three sacks, did not play against UAB, and lineman Mairo Stovall has not played since Sept. 13 against UT-Martin.
Winning the state
Roberts called SLU’s upcoming game against Northwestern a big game not only in the conference, but also in terms of recruiting.
He said head-to-head wins against in-state opponents go a long way in winning recruiting battles, and defeating the Demons would put SLU two-thirds of the way in terms of winning the state.
SLU defeated McNeese State on Sept. 22 and will play Nicholls State in the season finale on Nov. 15.
“You want to win the state,” Roberts said. “We’ve got McNeese, and if we can get Northwestern, and down the road if we can get Nicholls, it will help us win a lot of recruiting battles in the state. Obviously, the recruiting battles in this state are huge. Not just because it’s our home state, but because the talent pool is here.”
Lions on TV
For the second time this season, SLU will be featured on the Southland Conference Television Network. The game can be seen locally on WBTR, Cable Ch. 19. Coverage will start at 3 p.m.