December 12, 2018

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Southeastern Football Position Report No. 1: Running Backs

HAMMOND, La. – The Southeastern Louisiana football team featured one of the nation’s most prolific rushing attacks a season ago. With a running back corps made up of experienced veterans and impact newcomers, the Lions expect to be productive once again on the ground.

 

First-year SLU head coach Frank Scelfo has entrusted the running backs’ development to assistant coach and pass game coordinator Garret Chachere, who came to Hammond with Scelfo armed with over three decades of coaching experience.

 

Chachere, a Tulane alumnus and New Orleans native, returned to his home state to work with a talented stable of Southeastern ball carriers. SLU returns seven of its eight top rushers from a ground attack that finished third in FCS with a Southland Conference-leading 283.1 rushing yards per game.

 

Included in the group of veteran Lion runners is sophomore Marcus Cooper, who averaged 10.1 yards a carry on the way to leading a balanced Southeastern attack with 647 yards in 2017. Senior Darren Johnson (571 yards, 4 TD), senior Julius Maracalin (353 yards, 5 TD) and sophomore Delmonte Hall (130 yards, 1 TD) also return for SLU.

 

The Lion running back arsenal is buoyed by several new faces in 2018. Junior Devonte Williams projects to be an immediate impact player for Southeastern, after spending his first two seasons at Indiana, where he was a Big Ten Conference All-Freshman Team selection and left as one of the most prolific kick returners in school history.

 

The other newcomers in the Southeastern backfield all have Louisiana ties. Freshmen Taron Jones (Mandeville, Louisiana/Mandeville HS) and Tony Huey (Donaldsonville, Louisiana/The Dunham School) both are state prep products, while junior JoMari Becnel, who is transferring in from Mt. San Jacinto Junior College, has family in Vacherie.

 

Chachere has been pleased with his charges’ progress through the first two weeks of fall camp.

 

“We’ve seen improvement every day from this group,” Chachere commented. “What’s encouraging is that when we’ve given guys things to work on, the next day you can see that they’re absorbing our coaching and applying it on the field. We’re not a finished product yet, but I’m pleased with where our running backs are at this point of camp.”

 

Chachere credited the veterans in his meeting room for showing the newcomers the way.

 

“It’s a very competitive situation and our veterans have handled it well,” Chachere said. “They’re competing with some of our news guys for carries, but at the same time taking them under their wings and supporting them. Our returners have led by example to show the younger guys the importance of us all having each other’s backs. Our newcomers have done their part by not only being good players, but good teammates.”

 

For Chachere, it’s what his eight running backs do when they’re not receiving a handoff that’s going to be the biggest indicator of the group’s success.

 

“We want our guys to do the unselfish things first,” Chachere said. “We know what they can do when they have the ball in their hands. Running with the ball is the easy part. Protecting the football, blocking, pass protection, being supportive teammates – excelling at those aspects will make us a true success. If we do all those things, take care of our business in the classroom and stay unselfish, I can’t ask for anything more.”

 

Southeastern returns to the practice field on Tuesday at 9 a.m. The Lions open the 2018 season with a 7 p.m. contest on Aug. 30 at ULM.

 

SEASON TICKET INFORMATION

For season ticket information, please contact the Southeastern Athletics Ticket Office at (985) 549-5466 or visit www.LionSports.net/tickets. The Lions will welcome conference foes Central Arkansas (Sept. 15), Northwestern State (Sept. 29), Houston Baptist (Oct. 13 – Homecoming), Abilene Christian (Oct. 20 – Hall of Fame Game) and McNeese (Nov. 3).

 

Season ticket holders will also be able to participate in the Season Ticket Party, set for Aug. 25 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in the south end zone of Strawberry Stadium.

 

CLEAR BAG POLICY

Southeastern Athletics has instituted a clear bag policy for all ticketed events, effective with the start of football season. For more information on the clear bag policy, visit www.LionSports.net/clear.

 

TOUCHDOWN CLUB / S CLUB

Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the football program are encouraged to join the Touchdown Club. Lion football alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letterwinners.

 

All membership fees and donations to both the Touchdown Club and S Club (football) are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern football program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at laa@southeastern.edu or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA/#SelfieWithScelfo
For more information on Southeastern Football, follow @SLUFootball and @Coach_Scelfo on Twitter, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.

 

Fans can also win a pair of SLU Football season tickets by participating in the #SelfieWithScelfo campaign during the month of August. Follow @SLU_athletictix on Twitter for more information.

 

Fall Camp Key Dates
Aug. 15 – 3:30 p.m. (First day of classes)

Aug. 25 – 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Season Ticket Party); 2 p.m. (Media Day)

By: Southeastern Athletics

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