Hinspeter vs. Howard

Senior Jordan Patton (2) drives the ball down the field during the Oct. 18 game against Central Missouri. Southern lost 47-14.

Senior Jordan Patton (2) drives the ball down the field during the Oct. 18 game against Central Missouri. Southern lost 47-14.

Andrew Ford

After eight games, the coaches will have to decide who’s going to make the calls behind center for the Lion offense against Missouri Western.

Senior Adam Hinspeter has been the starting quarterback for the Lions all year, but has struggled to be productive lately.

Last week in a 47-14 loss to Central Missouri, Hinspeter was 3-8 passing for 29 yards. Coming in relief, redshirt freshman Collin Howard was 10 – 17 for 176 yards.

“We have not made a definitive move on that,” said Head Football Coach Bart Tatum. “Hinspeter and Howard have both taken snaps. Both had a great practice (on Tuesday). Hinspeter is doing everything he can do to get Collin ready.

“To know there isn’t any animosity between the two, makes me really proud as coach,” he added.

Tatum said he doesn’t want to exercise a two-quarterback system.

In Tatum’s weekly press conference, he said despite the team’s 4-4 record he’s not attempting to build for next year.

“We’re .500 on the dot,” Tatum said. “If we go out and find a way to win, we are a winning football team again. We are at a point where we need to press the accelerator. As a coaching staff, we’ve got the thing on the floorboard.”

As of Wednesday, the coaches were giving even reps to both quarterbacks. Tatum said that if one pulled ahead on Wednesday, one would start getting more reps at Thursday’s practice.

“We are going to play to win every single game, period.” Tatum said. “We are not playing for 2009, we are playing for 2008.”

Drew Newhart will lead a Griffon offense that favors the pass after lacking a running game for much of the year. The lack of balance has put more pressure on Newhart to be productive.

The offensive line has at times had trouble keeping pressure off their quarterback and has helped contribute to poor decisions.

Look for the Lions defense to utilize many looks and pressure Newhart early and often.

He has 15 interceptions on the year.

“They play very good up front,” Tatum said. “Our defense will have another great challenge.

“All the different looks they have out of their 4-3 defensive front will be a challenge,” Tatum said. “They are a good football team.”

A win against the Griffons (3-5, 2-4 MIAA) would push the Lions (4-4, 2-4 MIAA) over the .500 mark and give home fans a victory after three consecutive losses at Hughes Stadium.

After the offensive coaches decide on a quarterback, the Lions will also need to clean up special teams play after many mistakes last week in Southern’s 47-14 loss to No. 21 Central Missouri.

“We ran into a hot football team,” Tatum said. “We did not play well and got dominated in the kicking game. We had so many errors. We had a punt fly into a guy’s back, a punt blocked (the first of the year), and a field goal blocked.”

The Lions are 20-16 all time against the Griffons and hold a 12-7 edge at Hughes Stadium.