Ron Roberts sees ‘different mindset’ in Southeastern players

A year ago at this time, Southeastern Louisiana’s football team was smarting from a 62-10 loss at Missouri in Ron Roberts’ coaching debut with the Lions.

But Roberts said the team that will take the field at 11 a.m. Saturday at No. 24 TCU isn’t the same one from last season — and not just because the Lions are coming off a 45-7 win over Southeast Missouri.

“I think we’re a totally different mindset right now,” Roberts said Tuesday during his weekly media luncheon on the Southeastern campus. “I can honestly say that I thought when we went into the Missouri game last year, we had some guys that were scared. We had some guys that thought there’s no way in heck we can play with them, and we had a different mindset — ‘Hey, we’re not going to win, so why am I playing hard?’ and we had some guys turn it down.

“I think we have a totally different mindset right now, and the mindset is — they’re starting to buy in — if you’re going to play for championships and you’re going to be a top team, you can’t be worried about the other guy.”

And Roberts said the Lions can get better after rushing for 309 yards and six touchdowns against Southeast Missouri — both of which are the highest single-game totals since Southeastern revived football in 2003 — while playing 11 offensive linemen.

Quarterback Bryan Bennett led the the Lions with 103 yards and three rushing touchdowns, but Roberts said the team’s yardage total could have been greater.

“45-7 and we rushed for 300 yards, and we feel like there’s obviously a ton of room for improvement,” Roberts said. “You know, we felt like we probably could have easily run for 400 if we do it more consistently and get a hat on a hat and do the right things and don’t have the mental mistakes.”

Tourelle out for season

Roberts said linebacker Tyler Tourelle, a junior from St. Paul’s in Covington, tore an ACL on the opening kickoff return in Thursday’s game and will mis the remainder of the season.

Church in session

Linebacker Justin Church of Fontainebleau High, turned in three tackles in last week’s win, including a sack of Southeast Missouri quarterback Kyle Sndyer on a fourth-and-1 at the SLU 14 in the third quarter. He also blocked a Ryan Crum field-goal attempt just before halftime.

“He came up with two huge plays during the ballgame, and besides that, played very consistent throughout the ballgame,” Roberts said of Church. “The big thing with him, we think he’s going to be a great run player and he can get on the edge and rush the quarterback, and those are the things that we’re asking him to do.”

Snap to it

The Lions rolled up 494 yards on 86 snaps, going with an uptempo offense against Southeast Missouri, which led to 14 points on Southeastern’s first two possessions.

“You’d like to get in the 80 range, but we kind of knew going into the game that SEMO was going to run the football,” Roberts said. “They were going to run a lot of clock down, so they limited a lot of our possessions, so that’s one of the reasons we did play the fast tempo ... to try to get as many snaps as we could get in.”