For a player listed as wide receiver on the roster sheet, SHSU sophomore Richard Sincere holds a bit more responsibility when he’s on the field.
Sometimes, the coaching staff might line Sincere up in the backfield where he’s most comfortable, often using his quarterback instincts to read opposing defensive schemes.
Other times, Sincere lines up at wide out, where he is still a work in progress. But the most dangerous part of his arsenal is something the coaches can’t teach – explosiveness.
“Whenever I get the ball I just want to make a play. That’s all I look for,” he said.
Each of the past two seasons, Sincere has gained more yards and scored more touchdowns catching the ball from the shotgun than on a pass from the quarterback.
He rushed for 282 yards and five touchdowns on nearly seven yards per carry as a freshman in 2010. This year he is Sam Houston’s second-leading rusher with 64 carries for 465 yards and six touchdowns.
While at receiver Sincere grabbed eight passes, averaging 24 yards per catch with one touchdown in 2010 and has 15 catches this fall for 206 yards and one score.
Already in SHSU’s perfect 8-0 season this fall, Sincere has posted three 100-yard rushing performances.
He earned Southland Conference “Offensive Player of the Week” after leading the Bearkats to a 31-10 victory over No. 18 Central Arkansas in the conference opener Sept 17 when he ran the ball seven times for 107 yards and two scores.
Sincere led the Bearkats to a 45-10 victory over Stephen F. Austin in the “Battle of the Piney Woods” at Reliant Stadium, rushing 11 times for 111 yards.
In the Bearkats’ 66-0 defeat of Lamar last Saturday, Sincere carried seven times for 102 yards including a 40-yard score and caught a 77-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brian Bell on the opening play of the game.
“All our success on offense really starts with our defense,” Sincere said. “The defense gets a lot of turnovers, so that makes it easier for the offense to have momentum and go down and score.”
Offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse said aside from Richard’s gifted running ability, his football knowledge is supreme.
That starts from his early days in Galveston as a little league quarterback and goes into his prep career at Ball High School where he eventually performed as a two-way player.
During his junior year, Sincere filled in at cornerback for a 7-on7 matchup, due to the tardiness of a teammate. From then on, he starred at the position. But that same year, the starting quarterback for Galveston Ball went down for five games with an injury.
Sincere filled in that role as well.
As a senior in 2008 he started every game at quarterback and cornerback, rarely coming off the field. By the time he made it to SHSU as a redshirt freshman in 2009, Sincere had learned the ins and outs of the game.
He was multifaceted.
Sincere said he knew he was too small to play quarterback at the college level, but his speed and football IQ had a place on the field. He had been recruited as a cornerback by other schools in the Southland Conference, such as Southeastern Louisiana and Central Arkansas.
But he still wanted to play offense and was recruited by a former coach who had also gone from Ball to SHSU.
“When I got here I really didn’t know what I was going to play because he (Coach Jonathan Cooper) ended up leaving that spring,” Richard said. “But I had talked to the offensive coordinator and ended up playing receiver.”
Still, Sincere is the only player on the team who does not play a truly defined position. He’s listed as a receiver and he lines up as one periodically, but Sincere is on the field for the sole purpose of making plays, not playing a position.
For example, on the second play of the game against McNeese State last year, the Bearkats implemented their “wildcat” system with Sincere taking the snap at quarterback.
From what appeared to have been an option play, Sincere gave hesitation to the strong side, stepped his foot in the ground and marched down the middle of the field for a 67-yard score.
There was a similar play against SFA at Reliant Stadium last year, where the only obstacle standing between Sincere and the goal line was two SFA defensive backs with a 7-yard advantage and angle on him.
With ease, Sincere ran pass both of them.
“He’s blessed with really good speed,” Debesse said. “I think, having worked with him, that he has a really good knowledge of football too. He grasps things. Part of the reason we’re able to use him in different packages is number one, he has a working knowledge of the quarterback position having played it all of his life. But also, he can look at a defense and understand what to expect and what is happening.”
Debesse went further saying how much improvement he’s seen in Sincere’s game speed and technique. Yet nothing shows a player’s growth and maturity like game experience.
Sincere goes into that experience with not only the ability recognize the attack of his opposition, but also the speed to elude them in case the play breaks down.
“That just makes things easy on a play caller,” Debesse said.
Sincere’s play is a big factor in the Bearkats’ 8-0 start, the program’s best since 1964. With a 5-0 league record going into a road game at Southeastern Louisiana next Saturday, Sam Houston appears headed for a Southland Conference showdown with second place Northwestern State in the Kats’ final regular season home game of 2011 Saturday Nov. 12.
The contest will kickoff at 3:05 p.m. and is the Southland TV Network’s “Wildcard” telecast that day.