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McNeese State's Wallace Scott returns an interception for a touchdown against Weber State Saturday night. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

McNeese State's Wallace Scott returns an interception for a touchdown against Weber State Saturday night. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

McNeese Notebook: Scott makes big impact as fill-in linebacker

Last Modified: Thursday, September 26, 2013 9:12 PM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

Sometimes a perceived weakness can actually turn out to be a strength.

Such was the case for McNeese State at linebacker last week against Weber State, with both Deonte Thompson and Hayden Dobbs out for the first half.

The Cowboys were so short-handed that in their desperation they turned to a safety to fill in one of the spots. It turned out to be a pretty good move for all parties.

Wallace Scott’s 69-yard interception return for a touchdown triggered a string of 43 unanswered points for the Cowboys and earned him Louisiana Sports Writers Association defensive player of the week honors after his first college game at the position.

“It was good to have a big impact on the game,” Scott said. “It really helped start the offense, because they scored (36) straight after that.”

Scott wasn’t the only substitute linebacker doing work.

Junior Correy Middleton came into the game with 1 tackle for the season, but finished with a team-high 8 stops to go along with a forced fumble.

“No matter how many linebackers we have going into the game, it takes all 11 of us,” Middleton said. “We all carried the load together. But it feels good when you can make a play and your team wins.”

With Thompson and Dobbs back in the lineup for Saturday’s game at Northern Iowa, coach Matt Viator now has the best kind of problem to deal with — more talented guys than he can get onto the field at one time.

“Last week at this time we moved Wallace Scott, and we’re as concerned as concerned gets,” Viator said. “This week you turn the page with Deonte and Hayden coming back, the way Wallace, Correy Middleton and Brody Buckhalter played, and now we think we’re deep. It’s just a matter of a few days and that happens. Now we’re excited.”

• SILENT, BUT DEADLY: With a noisy atmosphere expected at the UNI-Dome, McNeese has been practicing silent snap counts this week. Though they have not been forced to use the tactic yet this season, quarterback Cody Stroud said he’s comfortable with it.

“We actually did it every snap until last year, so it’s nothing new,” Stroud said. “We have multiple counts we can go on. Silent’s going to be one of them in the UNI-Dome. It’s nothing we haven’t done; we just have to refresh.”

FULL ATTENTION: After committing eight false starts last week, the Cowboy offensive line knows it has to be extra vigilant against a repeat performance.

“Knowing that we had so many offsides penalties last week, they’re probably going to game plan around it,” said left guard Quentin Marsh. “They’re probably be moving guys around. We have to stay focused and loud in communicating with each other.”

BRISCOE OUT: Wide receiver Wes Briscoe is out this week after suffering a knee injury against Weber State. Jereon McGilvery, Damon Gladney and Deltoine Scott will rotate into that spot, said coach Matt Viator.

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