Cleaning up penalties is top priority for Lynx heading into road game against Bethel

News-DemocratOctober 12, 2013 

Lindenwood-Belleville coach Jeff Fisher often talks about how the Lynx as a fledgling football program need to focus more on themselves than their opponents.

His case in point: Penalties.

The Lynx rank No. 2 in penalty yards in NAIA with an average of 106.5 yards per game heading into their game this Saturday against the Bethel University Wildcats in McKenzie, Tenn.

"We're up there," Fisher said. "It's not good. I think it's multiple things. It's not as simple as one thing or another. We're an aggressive team.

"It's something that we are because that's how we practice, that's how we play. Kids have to learn how not to put themselves in those situations where they make young, immature mistakes on the football field."

Fisher said the Lynx were plagued by personal foul penalties earlier in the season, but now they're being flagged more for infractions like false starts and defensive offsides.

Fisher said having a reputation for being penalty prone also has come back to bite the Lynx.

"When it comes time for the benefit of the doubt, that benefit of doubt doesn't necessarily go in your direction," Fisher said. "I've told our guys that it is something we have created, and it's going to be our job to do something about it."

Today's game: Lindenwood-Belleville (3-3) at Bethel University (1-5), 1:30 p.m.

Last meeting: First meeting between two schools.

Quarterback platoon: Anthony Doresey started at quarterback last week over Kerry Gibson, but Fisher said he'd like to use both quarterbacks this week.

"I couldn't be prouder and more impressed with Kerry Gibson and how he has handled this situation and how hard he has worked as this has come about," Fisher said. "At the same time, I thought Anthony Dorsey showed enough positive things that he needs to be a part of that equation, too. I don't have an exact plan on how we're going to handle that, but I anticipate that they are both going to play."

Sack attack: The Lynx are No. 4 among NAIA schools in total sacks with 17. Sophomore Matt Blacharcyk, a 210-pound defensive lineman, leads the way with six sacks.

"We have a good group of guys up front that push each other, and Matt is one of them," Fisher said. "When he was in high school playing for Coach (Tim) Funk at Belleville East, he was maybe 200 pounds at defensive tackle. He has that knack of being able to play with his hand down even though he is undersized for that position.

"He is really gifted at being able to get off blocks and get to the quarterback."

Key players: Lindenwood-Belleville -- QB Kerry Gibson (80 of 157 passing for 1,098 yards with 9 TDs and 9 Ints.), QB Anthony Dorsey (13 of 26 passing with no touchdowns and 1 Int.); RB Kameron Harris (112 carries for 729 yards and 10 TDs), WR Dyan Bradley (23 catches for 347 yards and 3 TDs); LB T.J. Onstott (46 tackles, 1 sack); LB Adrian Williams (42 tackles, 1 sack). Bethel University -- QB B.J. Robertson (42 of 99 passing for 447 yards with 4 TDs touchdowns and 3 Ints.); WR Travonta Thomas (19 catches for 238 yards and 1 TD); DB Stony Burns (23 tackles, 5 interceptions, 1 sack); KR-PR Jahron Reynolds (34.1 yards per kickoff return, 8.2 yards per punt return).

Notes: Bethel senior quarterback B.J. Robertson was thrust into a starting role last week for the Wildcats after Kerry Sellers was unable to play because of a shoulder injury. Robertson responded to the challenge by throwing for 287 yards and two touchdowns as he led Bethel to their first win of the season, a 41-25 decision over Bluefield College. ... Bethel made it to the second round of the NAIA playoffs last season by upsetting No. 1-ranked Georgetown (Ky.) 45-44. The Wildcats return two offensive starters and six defensive starters from last year's squad. ... The Lynx will play their next four games on the road.

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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