Schultz, LU Players Take Part in SLC Media Day
BEAUMONT, Texas – Lamar University head coach Mike Schultz and players Rodney Randle (Beaumont, Texas/Junior/Defensive Back-Return Specialist) and Matthew Oubre (Dayton, Texas/Senior/Center) were in Houston Thursday to take part in the 2017 Southland Conference Media Day. The annual event is the Southland’s official kick off for the upcoming football season.
For Schultz, it is his first run through the media gauntlet of the Southland Conference after being named the program’s head coach in December (he is the university’s second head coach since the rebirth of the program). Schultz is one of only two Southland head coaches who will be going through their first Southland Media Day (Adam Dorrel – Abilene Christian) this season.
Schultz, Oubre and Randle met with local and national members of the media throughout the day, which included six local media outlets covering the Cardinals. The Red and White had one of the largest media contingents at the event, which was streamed live on ESPN3.
The Southland also released its preseason polls Thursday. In a switch from previous seasons, the Southland combined the head coaches and media relations director polls into one poll. The Cardinals enter the campaign picked to finish seventh with 68 points. The defending conference champion Sam Houston State Bearkats were picked to repeat as champions with 200 points and 20 first-place votes (head coaches and media relations directors were not allowed to vote for their own school).
“I’m not sure anyone gets too wrapped up in preseason polls,” said Schultz. “Those are more for the media and the fans. We know coming into this season that we have a lot of hard work in front of us, and we are taking steps in the right direction. I like what I have seen but we have a long way to go. The teams picked ahead of us in the preseason poll are very good teams with an established history of winning. We haven’t arrived at that point so I don’t see how we could’ve been picked higher.”
Randle, who was named to the preseason All-Southland Conference list which was released last week, will be counted on to provide leadership for a very young defensive squad. The Cardinals return just 13 starters from last season and only five of those are on defense.
Randle will also be counted on to be a two-way threat. The former Beaumont Ozen standout enters his junior campaign having returned 59 kicks for a 21.5 yards per return average and one touchdown in his two seasons.
Oubre is one of two returning starters on the offensive line. In addition to his leadership as one of the top returning centers in the conference, Oubre is one of just two starters on the team with at least three years of experience.
In addition to focusing on the start of a new football season, the Southland also awarded the 2017 Louis Bonnette Award – given annually to a member of the media who has dedicated their career to covering Southland sports. Long-time voice of the Cardinals, and current KBMT Sports Director, Dave Hofferth received the award Thursday – the award was announced last week.
The Cardinals report for camp Sunday, July 30th, with their first workout slated for the following day. The Cardinals open the season Saturday, Sept. 2nd at North Texas. The game against the Mean Green will kick off at 6 p.m.