By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal
Carthel’s Lions will face a more physical test as he takes his Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions to AT&T Stadium tomorrow to face Delta State University at 5 p.m.
In Carthel’s debut as head coach the Lions blew out Sul Ross State 51-6, and had top notch performances by both star offensive and defensive players Tyrik Rollison, who threw for 364 yards and four touchdown passes, and Tevin Moore, who recorded two sacks against the Lobos on Sept. 7. Carthel said it feels good to win, but has his team focused on the task at hand.
“Winning’s a lot better than losing,” he said. “It’s good for these guys getting off to a good start. But we’re facing a bigger, stronger and faster team now.”
Even though Delta State is a very physical team, Carthel said he has some plans for his defense to stop the Statesmen, who recorded 242 yards rushing in their opener against Mississippi Valley State.
“This hopefully allows us to slow them down a bit,” he said.
Rollison said it felt good to get a win under his belt, and added he feels right at home with the Lions considering his home town of Sulphur Springs is a 15-minute drive away.
“This is the start of something new; the start of something good,” he said. “It feels like I’m home.”
Rollison was never sacked in the first game, and said he does not think that will change in the game today.
“They have nothing that our offensive line can’t handle,” he said. “I have a lot of confidence in them. They worked their butts off.”
Rollison said his eyes have been glued to the films of both the Lions and the Statesmen’s opening games, trying to find ways for him to improve on his game.
“There has been a lot of studying,” he said, adding in the first game he noticed he stared down his receivers too much and will focus more on reading the defensive scheme more.
The Statesmen have two large running backs that will likely keep the Lions defense on their toes.
Moore said he anticipates a lot of aggressive running from those two but thinks his defensive line is more than capable to handle them.
“We’re focusing on getting off the ball and being aggressive,” he said. “We’re coming out with the same intensity.”
Although the Statesmen’s offensive line is large, Moore said his line should be able to out muscle them.
“They’re big but not too athletic,” he said.
Carthel said his team made a few mistakes during their opener, but was thankful that they were all “Correctable mistakes” that could be improved upon through practice.
“Our run blocking wasn’t up to speed,” he said. “But we’ll just get better with time.”