Cardinal football picked to finish 8th in conference

New Cardinal uniforms

Lamar University head football coach Ray Woodard, along with players Reggie Begelton and Xavier Bethany, traveled to the L’auberge Resort Resort in Lake Charles on July 29 to meet members of the media at the 2015 Southland Conference Football Media Days.

Although the Cardinals reported back to campus to start summer classes two weeks ago, the start of fall camp will be Thursday, Aug. 5, with the first official workout taking place at Provost Umphrey Stadium the following day. Entering just their sixth season on the gridiron, the Cardinals are coming off a record-setting performance last year, tying a school record for wins in a season.

Lamar is picked to finish eighth in both the Southland Conference coaches’ and sports information directors’ poll.

LU went 8-4 last season and return five players who were named to the preseason all-conference team: Bethany, Begelton (preseason first-team All-SLC receiver), Omar Tebo (defensive line), Justin Brock (offensive line) and Kade Harrington (running back).

“I never really worry about preseason polls,” said Bethany. “To me, that is just a number for fans to talk about and the media to write about until the season gets here. Everyone has the right to their opinion, but being picked near the bottom of the polls doesn’t dictate how we are going to work, and it doesn’t really mean anything once the season gets started.

“I believe we could have won conference last year and we still would have been picked eighth this year. Until we start beating everyone in this league on a regular basis, we aren’t going to get the respect we feel we deserve. We just need to come out and earn that respect on the field.”

The Cards will have to find a new quarterback; record-setter Caleb Berry was a senior last season. None of the current quarterbacks on the roster have ever taken a snap at Lamar. The leaders entering camp are transfers Joe Minden and Carson Earp. Minden comes to Beaumont after spending four seasons at conference rival Stephen F. Austin, while Earp transferred from Navarro College.

“Joe has a chip on his shoulder,” said Begelton. “He came to camp to win the starting job. He has a really good drive, and work ethic on the field. But he is locked in a good battle with another talented quarterback in Carson Earp. … It is going to be a fun battle to watch. I will be happy to catch passes from either one of them, no matter who wins.”

The Cardinals open the season Saturday, Sept. 5, when they host Bacone College at 7 p.m.

Sam Houston State, which won its sixth league title last season, was picked as the favorite. Following the Bearkats were last year’s co-champions, Southeastern Louisiana, then McNeese State, Central Arkansas, Stephen F. Austin, Northwestern State, Abilene Christian, Lamar, Incarnate Word, Nicholls and Houston Baptist.

The team also unveiled new uniforms for the season via Under Armour.

“Obviously, you want to look good when you take the field, and I like these uniforms,” said head coach Ray Woodard. “I believe, by the response from the team, the guys really like them too. I’m a fan of the traditional look when it comes to collegiate uniforms, and I believe these uniforms fit that style.”

Tennis

Southland Conference Student-Athlete of the Year Michael Feucht and second-team academic all-conference member Juuso Laitinen added another academic award when they gave Lamar University tennis two student-athletes on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Scholar Athlete List.

Feucht is a member of the Dean’s List at LU with a 3.73 grade point average in general business, and Laitinen earned his way with a 3.62 GPA in exercise science. In order to earn ITA Scholar-Athlete status, a student-athlete must be a varsity letter winner, have a GPA of 3.50 or better and have been enrolled in their present school for at least two semesters.

Feucht, native of Augsburg, Germany, only lost one match in league play this season and was 14-8 overall from the second position. In doubles, the sophomore earned a 14-5 mark and competed in the NCAA Men’s Tennis Doubles Championship in postseason play. He was a first-team All-Southland Conference selection in singles play.

Laitinen, from Kuopio, Finland, was 10-8 in singles and 10-7 in doubles action this season. He had a 4-1 mark in singles action in the sixth spot.

Softball camp

Head coach Holly Bruder and assistant Allison Honkofsky will hold a softball camp at the new Lamar Softball Complex on campus near Vincent-Beck Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 16, at 9 a.m. for ages 6-12.

An elite all-skills camp for ages 13 and older is scheduled Saturday, Aug. 22, at 9 a.m. All campers must provide their own meals and bring cleats, athletic shoes and their own helmets, bats, gloves and catcher’s gear. Offensive skills will be taught from 9-11 a.m. An infield and outfield session will run from noon – 2 p.m., and a session for pitchers and catchers is scheduled for 3-5 p.m. The cost of the all-skills camp is $60 per session.

A prospect scrimmage camp for players 13 and older will be held Sunday, Aug. 23, beginning at 10:30 a.m. All players participating in the prospect scrimmage camp are guaranteed to play in at least two games, playing at both a primary and secondary position. Teams will be put together by the Lamar coaching staff and games will begin at noon. The cost of the prospect scrimmage camp is $100 per player.

Call (409) 880-7448.

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