University of Incarnate Word Cardinals quarterback Lindsey Scott looks to pass the ball during spring football practice at Benson Stadium, Tuesday, April 12, 2022.
As quarterback Lindsey Scott took the reins of Incarnate Word’s offense during spring practice, coach G.J. Kinne and offensive coordinator Mack Leftwich studied his play from just a few yards behind him.
At the end of each series, the three came together to share ideas, meshing Kinne’s thoughts as a first-year head coach, Leftwich’s experience as a holdover from productive UIW offenses the past three seasons, and Scott’s knowledge from stops at four previous schools.
The prospect of having a pair of former quarterbacks in his ear was one of the factors that led Scott to transfer to UIW in January following two seasons as a starter at Nicholls, and the Cardinals’ spring practices the past few weeks have given him an opportunity to learn new teammates and grow comfortable with a fresh scheme.
As he acclimates to UIW, Scott joked that San Antonio is “a little bit bigger town” than Nicholls’ base in Thibodaux, La., which has a population of about 16,000. But as he goes through the process of settling into new surroundings for the fifth and final time in his college career, Scott said he’s comfortable navigating the learning curve.
“I definitely have gotten used to it. I think I’m very malleable when it comes to learning different offenses,” Scott said. “At this point, I’m in NCAA free agency. So I got picked up, and I’ve just been getting to work.”
University of Incarnate Word Cardinals running back Marcus Cooper, left, stands next to quarterback Lindsey Scott before a play during spring football practice at Benson Stadium, Tuesday, April 12, 2022.
Coming out of Zachary, La., as a three-star prospect in the class of 2016, Scott began his college career with a redshirt year at LSU. He shifted to East Mississippi Community College the following season and led the program to a JUCO national championship, earning a spot at Missouri for 2018.
After a year on the scout team at Missouri, Scott landed at Nicholls, sitting out the season due to NCAA transfer rules. He started for the Colonels in the 2021 spring and fall seasons before making the leap to UIW.
Scott said every transfer happened for a different reason, whether due to a coaching change or a search for a fresh chance to earn a higher position on the depth chart. Though playing at Nicholls allowed him to live with his younger brother Logan, a sophomore defensive back with the Colonels, Lindsey came away from the 2021 season feeling it was “just time to part ways” with the program.
“It was a tough decision to leave, but sometimes you have to make a business decision of what is best for yourself and your career, and that’s what I did,” Scott said. “Initially, it feels tough, but down the road, you’ll realize you made the best decision.”
Kinne said Scott’s performance this spring “really surpassed expectations,” though his film from Nicholls was already enough to prove his mettle as a dual threat.
University of Incarnate Word Cardinals quarterback Lindsey Scott runs drills during spring football practice at Benson Stadium, Tuesday, April 12, 2022.
Taking hold of the starting job during a seven-game season in spring 2021, Scott threw for 1,684 yards on 58.1 percent completions with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions as the Colonels went 4-3.
Scott said an ankle injury in the fall led him to share snaps with Kohen Granier during some games of a 6-5 season, but he still finished with 2,083 passing yards on 62.2 percent completions with 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Scott also ranked as the leading rusher in the Southland Conference, netting 990 yards with nine touchdowns.
At UIW, Kinne said Scott has committed to learning the playbook and devoting extra time to the practice field, earning the Cardinals’ respect.
“The thing that has really stood out to me with Lindsey is how smart he is,” Kinne said. “He’s just a heck of a person, and he’s a guy you want to kind of build this thing around.”
Kinne and Scott are tasked with filling the shoes of previous coach Eric Morris and quarterback Cameron Ward, who led UIW to the program’s most successful season last year with a 10-3 record, a Southland Conference championship and the school’s first victory in the FCS playoffs.
Morris accepted a position as Washington State’s offensive coordinator and Ward transferred into the program, taking with them the air raid offense that transformed UIW into a contender in recent years.
Returning receiver Taylor Grimes said UIW is “still going to get in there and throw that ball,” retaining some elements of last year’s attack while adding Kinne’s tweaks.
Scott’s rushing threat “opens up more options for everybody,” running back Marcus Cooper said, but Grimes said Scott’s arm has been even more impressive than his running ability.
“From the perspective of what we’ve done the past few years here at UIW, not much is going to change,” Grimes said. “But it’s been good to have a new guy come in here and have his own type of way of doing things.”
Grimes said Scott has the potential to “shake things up” in the Western Athletic Conference, which the Cardinals will enter this fall.
As Scott looks toward his final college season, he said winning is his top priority, adding that the Cardinals speak daily about their goals of returning to the playoffs and competing for conference and national titles.
“If we can make that happen, it would be the perfect cherry on top for this movie, the sequel,” Scott said. “Win games and rings, that’s all that would make this last season good.”
Greg Luca is the UTSA beat reporter and general assignment reporter for the San Antonio Express-News. In addition to UTSA, his coverage includes the University of Incarnate Word, the San Antonio Missions and other San Antonio area colleges. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Florida and a native of Connecticut. He was the sports editor of the McAllen Monitor from 2014-18.