Team preview: Southeastern Louisiana

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

It's understandable why a team like Southeastern Louisiana might have had trouble finding consistency last season.

Sitting just north of Lake Pontchartrain, the Lions -- like most everyone in the region -- felt the wrath of Hurricane Katrina late last summer, which caused a tremendous disruption of the entire student body's normal life routine. By the time school started back, the Lions and first-year head coach Jim Yarbrough had little time to get to know each other, then dealt with numerous injuries that caused a combined 61 games missed.

In fact, the opening night starting lineup for the Lions played together a total of just four times all season.
All that turmoil resulted in a true rollercoaster of a season. Southeastern had two losing streaks of at least four games and four winning streaks of at least three games -- closing conference play with five consecutive victories before falling to Lamar in the Southland Conference tournament.

"We weren't as bad off as [the University of New Orleans] or Tulane, but our facilities were used as a staging area for a lot of the relief efforts, so we really had to be creative," Yarbrough said. "It did pose a lot of challenges for us.

"We were very up and down for sure. But other than maybe SFA, we played as well as anyone down the stretch. This team really came back from the dead. With Katrina, the new coaching situation and several key injuries we had, we just put our heads down like a pack mule and kept moving forward.

"We wish we would have had a little more time to work with them and get better results sooner, but you do the best you can and deal with the circumstances."

The Lions certainly did that, and in doing so may have actually proved more than they did by earning at least a share of the conference title the previous two seasons.