Tiger secondary learning from mistakes

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

First-year transfer defensive backs Nathan and Daniel Lindsey and third-year Fort Hays State University football coach Chris Brown had similar thoughts on the big plays the Tiger secondary allowed in last Thursday's 43-13 season-opening home loss to Emporia State University at Lewis Field Stadium. ESU wideout Austin Willis caught nine passes for 216 yards for three TDs, and sophomore quarterback Brent Wilson had the best debut by a Hornet signal caller in school history.

"They did run some things that we didn't see in practice," Nathan Lindsey said in the team's weekly news conference Tuesday. "Those are things that we have just got to trust what we are doing and play to our best ability. It wasn't really anything too special. It was just mental errors."

Willis beat three different Tiger defensive backs on deep plays. Fort Hays allowed two 64-yard passes, including one for a score, and TDs from 30 and 28 yards. Wilson also had a 32-yard run.

"It was definitely a learning experience for our whole team," Daniel Lindsey said.

Brown called the plays "just a mental bust" from a secondary that is talented, but inexperienced, especially at cornerback.

"Not getting the right read," Brown said.

The Lindsey twins, senior Andreas Ashwood and sophomore Raheeme Dumas had one combined start in a Tiger uniform before last Thursday.

"We have got to get our hands on them, get them pushed, don't get them a free release and then our safeties have to be able to see them as well," Brown said. "It just takes work. We have got guys in new positions and it's just a matter of playing that first game and getting the jitters out and understanding how this conference is and how competitive this conference is."

On Saturday, FHSU will travel to Washburn University for a 7 p.m. kickoff in Topeka. Washburn opened with a 58-13 victory against University of Nebraska-Kearney. The Ichabods are receiving votes nationally and are four spots away from the NCAA Division II Top 25. Nathan Lindsey said practice this week has been "high energy" and "high intensity" as the Tigers look to bounce back.

As well, junior safety Micheal Jordan will return Saturday. He exited last Thursday's game because of a shoulder sprain, couldn't have contact this week, but can play in the game. Senior defensive back Stephen Marcotte, the team's most experienced player, continued to play with a cast on his arm at Tuesday's practice. Marcotte made four tackles last week.

"We just have got to be more sound fundamentally," Nathan Lindsey said. "Make sure we get the call in, stuff like that. Big thing was just mental errors."

Emporia State ranked No. 9 nationally in total offense with 591 yards. The Tigers also allowed ESU to run 94 plays, tied for the fifth-most. FHSU trailed 17-0 at halftime and closed the game to 17-6 in the third quarter. Fort Hays had a chance to draw closer, but true freshman wideout Bilal Silat dropped a wide-open deep pass. Emporia quickly scored after that and the game quickly got out of hand.

"A couple minor things could have been corrected that could have changed the game and could have had the score a little bit more closer," Daniel Lindsey said. "Just little things like that. The scoreboard didn't reflect our play I would say."