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Lions Work Once In Full Gear; Crooks Ready To Shine At Linebacker

HAMMOND – The Southeastern Louisiana University football team returned to practice on Wednesday as the Lions worked for just over two hours in full gear in Strawberry Stadium.

Southeastern worked on its overtime package, which included live tackling. The Southeastern defense held the upper hand as it kept the offense out of the end zone. The offense had its moments with a strong running game, but freshman kicker Ryan Adams provided the only points for the offense with a field goal.

“It was hot, humid, we came off an evening practice last night and had a good tempo today and we got a lot done,” Southeastern head coach Mike Lucas said. “It’s amazing how nice it’s out here from 6 to 7 in the morning with the lights on and the sun not up yet.”

Looking to replace linebackers Mark Newbill, the school’s all-time leading tackler (401 tackles), and Ryan Godare, who finished seventh in his career (262), senior Avery Crooks looks to lead a group that will feature several new faces.

Crooks, a New Orleans native and former Higgins product, registered 25 tackles last season in a backup role while playing in all 11 games in 2010 with starts in the Lions’ final two games against Stephen F. Austin and Nicholls State.

“Avery is a senior and has worked great all summer,” Lucas said. “He was a heck of recruit for us. He was recruited by a lot of people and it’s a shame he hasn’t gotten more snaps because he was playing behind Godare the whole time, and Ryan was such a good player for us.

“For Avery, it’s his time as a senior and he’s taken a hold to that, shown great leadership in the summer and is playing well in camp.”

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Crooks is expected to be joined at linebacker by junior Tay Alford, who moved to linebacker from safety in spring practice, and sophomore Ricky Irvin. True freshmen Kaleb Muse, a Ponchatoula High product, and Ascension Catholic product Parris Stewart are each expected to see significant action as both are currently listed second on the depth chart.

Southeastern will resume fall camp with a pair of practices on Thursday. The Lions will work out in full gear at 6 a.m. before returning in the evening in a 5 p.m. session. Southeastern will conclude two-a-days on Saturday and will begin classes beginning Wednesday.

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