Lamar gearing up for Kentucky Christian

Published 12:16 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2018

BEAUMONT — Lamar football coach Mike Schultz’s first weekly news conference of the season didn’t offer much of a scouting report on Kentucky Christian.

“It’s still a little bit of unknown to us,” Schultz said Monday. “We didn’t get an exchange policy on film, so we’re operating with very little information on them. I know they’re an NAIA school. I know it’s in Grayson, Kentucky. They have a good coaching staff. I have a little bit of an association with the head coach; he’s an Air Raid guy.

“I’ll say he’s a moderated Air Raid guy, [in] that they’re running the ball a little bit more, from what I understand. But they are well-coached, and I think they will be ready to go on Saturday.”

Kentucky Christian, a university of about 500 students in the northeast portion of the state, has gone 1-11 under Corey Fipps, a former assistant to Air Raid inventor Hal Mumme at Belhaven University in Mississippi. Mumme was also head coach at the University of Kentucky.

The Knights started their season Saturday with a 48-14 home loss to Florida’s Webber International, after trailing 41-0 at halftime. KCU was held to 101 yards rushing and 126 passing in just more than 19 minutes of possession time, while fumbling the ball three times.

But Schultz cautioned there’s no cause for Lamar, which was 2-9 a season ago, to overlook the NAIA ballclub for a Week 2 battle at Texas Tech.

“If they are, they’re doing so without the coaching staff’s permission,” Schultz said. “Believe me, our coaching staff and myself, it’s all about Kentucky Christian. I talked to the team a long time ago; what we have to do is go one practice at a time, one week at a time, one game at a time. If this football team — if we get ahead of ourselves — we’re making a huge mistake. We’ve got to make sure we stay focused on Kentucky Christian, let’s get them handled if we can, let’s get through that game and see how it ends up and then let’s turn our attention to the next game.”

Lamar is going into the season much more experienced than last year’s team that included 57 newcomers for Schultz’s first season, so Schultz believes the Cardinals have reached a high maturity level to focus on the game at hand rather than worry about the level of an opponent.

“They can say, ‘Coach is right. We’ve got to make sure we handle our business now. Let’s make sure we handle this practice. Let’s make sure we handle this week.’ That should happen when you’ve got guys coming back when your coaching staff has kept continuity, so the same message is being sent. I do think we are and we have more of a mature football team.”

Kickoff rule

Of the many rules changes to take effect this season, Schultz said he is “curious” to see how the kickoff policy will work.

On a kickoff in college football, if a receiving player waves and makes a fair catch inside his own 25-yard line, the ball will start at the 25.

“When you think about it, that rule was really put in place to protect kids,” Schultz said, “because people have gotten to where on kickoffs, instead of kicking toward the end zone, they were trying to kick as high as they could, trying to get [the other team] to field the ball somewhere around the 5-yard line but they kicked it so high, it allowed the coverage team to get down the field and try to make the play inside the 20-yard line. Well, now, you’re going to be able to fair-catch those balls in certain situations and move the ball out to the 25 automatically. It’s going to be interesting to see how that works.”

Honoring West

Lamar graduate and former Port Arthur News sports editor Bob West has been named the first honoree of Lamar’s “Legends of the Golden Triangle,” a series honoring Southeast Texas’ great sports figures before the start of each Lamar home game this season.

West, a former Lamar golfer and current golf columnist for The News who was sports editor from 1972-2015, will be honored during the coin toss of Saturday’s game.