For Lindenwood-Belleville head football coach Dale Carlson, the game film’s high-angle view took some of the tarnish off the Lynx's 45-20 season-opening loss to Siena Heights last week.
Apart from untimely penalties and some bad snaps on special teams, it wasn’t as bad as it looked, he said.
“There are probably three or four scores we gave them,” Carlson said. "If we're a little bit better in those situations, maybe we don't win, but we're a lot more competitive with a very good team."
Still, some issues stand out.
The Lynx were not sharp coming out of the locker room at half time, allowing Siena Heights 28 unanswered points in the third quarter. Offensively, Carlson said technique issues took crispness away from a scheme he's had a very short time to implement; quarterback Tarean Austin and his wide receivers looked out of sync much of the day.
"When you change an offensive scheme and only have four weeks to put it in, it's going to look like you had only four weeks to work on it," said Carlson, who accepted the job in late July. "I'm not an excuse maker, but if we had an entire spring, things might have been cleaned up a little better. But that's not where we're at so we have to put our work in now."
The point is, he says, it’s all fixable.
With another week of work under Carlson under their belts, the Lynx will travel to Bourbonnais for a 6 p.m. non-divisional Mid-States Football Association game with Olivet Nazarene.
Saturday's Game: Lindenwood-Belleville (0-1) at Olivet Nazarene (1-1), 6 p.m.
Last Meeting: The Lynx defeated the Tigers 29-7 in LU-B's homecoming game, in the seventh week of last season. The all-time series is split 1-1.
Scouting the Lynx: The offense struggled at time last week.
Quarterback Tarean Austin led the Lynx with 49 total yards and two touchdowns on the ground while completing 11-of-37 passes for 102 yards. Senior running back Kam Harris, a graduate of Althoff, rushed 18 times for 38 yards.
"Offensively we still have some young players and I think there's still a little bit of a learning curve for them," Carlson said. "It was Tarean's first game. He did some good things, but also did some things we can hopefully change as we get into the second week."
Being more efficient on first down is a goal for the offense, Carlson said.
"Our goal is to get four-or-more yards on first down 50 percent of the time. We only did that 38 percent of the time," he said. "We also were in third-and-short only one time Saturday. I think that tells you we were not efficient on first down. We put ourselves in poor position offensively."
The LU-B defense yielded 479 yards of total offense to Siena Heights. TJ Onstott had 11 tackles, 7 solos, in the game.
Scouting the Tigers: Starting quarterback Zach Gross, who rushed for 703 yards and six TDs as a junior, was knocked out of action, possibly for the season, in last week's 59-16 loss to St. Francis (Ind.). That leaves sophomore Matthew Wray (14-of-33, 132 yards, TD, 5 int.) and junior Derek Durkes (9-of-18, 70 yards, TD) to split duty.
"One is a little bit more of a runner, one is a little bit more of a passer," Carlson said of the quarterbacks. "We're trying to prepare for a little bit of everything."
Defensively, Olivet Nazarene likes to pressure the quarterback.
"They run a 3-4, zone blitz scheme which is different from what we saw last week, so it'll be a challenge," Carlson said. "They'll be bringing people from all over the place. So we've spent a lot of film time, a lot of meeting time and a lot of practice time doing walk-throughs to work on that blitz recognition. We've done a good job at practice, so we'll see how it translates into the game."