Captains are often looked upon to lead their team and be an extension of their head coach. With the captains for the 2013 SIU football team now in place, the team will look for them to provide guidance and a voice for the upcoming season.
Senior quarterback Kory Faulkner and senior fullback Ray Agnew were chosen as offensive captains for the upcoming season, while senior linebacker Brian Presume and junior linebacker Tyler Williamson were picked as captains on the defensive side of the ball. The captains were chosen through a team vote.
Faulkner and Agnew are two players who remain from the 2009 SIU team, which was the last to appear in the playoffs.
Faulkner is a three-year starting quarterback and has started 18 consecutive games for the Salukis, which is the third longest active streak in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Faulkner said he was honored to be chosen as a captain, but he also knows the territory that comes with that title.
“It’s a privilege,” he said. “It’s definitely a great opportunity, but at the same time it’s a role you have to play. You can’t be everybody’s best friend at every time; you have to do what you feel is best for the team.”
Faulkner said his job this season is to garner the role as player-coach and to be on his teammates when times get rough.
“At practice, sometimes when things get hard it’s easy to take a play off, but we have to come out every day and make sure we are trying to get better,” Faulkner said.
Agnew played in all 11 games at fullback for the Salukis last season and started five.
Agnew said he has come a long way since he first came to the program, so being selected as captain is a big accomplishment.
“My freshman year I came in and had struggles,” he said. “I was a quiet guy, so it means a lot to me to know my teammates recognize my hard work and my dedication to the team.”
He said his approach to leadership is to lead by example, but he will also be a vocal leader if it comes down to it.
“I always give 100-percent effort every time I go,” Agnew said. “Also, if I need to say something to the team, I’ll say it because they know I’m a quiet person so usually whenever I have something to say it’s something from the heart.”
Williamson and Presume are two of five players returning who scored a defensive touchdown last season.
Williamson led the Salukis last season with three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He had one interception and one blocked punt along with 4.5 sacks which leads all Saluki returnees.
Williamson, who played at Highland Community College in Kansas, said he was pleased to gain the respect of his teammates although he has been a member of the team for a short time frame.
“I’ve only been here a year and a half, and to earn the respect of your teammates is a pleasure and I look forward to it,” he said.
Presume led the team last season with 78 tackles and set a school record with a 100-yard fumble return for a touchdown against Northern Iowa.
He said it feels good to have the respect of his teammates and to be named captain. He also said he looks forward to providing leadership for the defense.
“We don’t have too many (defensive) starters returning from last year, and I was the leading tackler last year so automatically they’re looking up to me to lead the defense again this year,” Presume said. “I’m just trying to do the same thing as last year but even better.”
Coach Dale Lennon said captains are critical to the management of the team and he will count on them heavily this season.
“I use them extensively as far as making sure the morale is good and if there’s issues that come up they’re my sounding board and they’re also the voice to the team,” Lennon said. “They have a different responsibility than the average player and it’s not a popularity contest, they have to say what they think.”
Lennon said when it comes to attributes, all four players possess the same qualities.
“I think the common denominator is that they are all the hardest workers on the team,” Lennon said. “I think the players see that, they respect that and just because of the work ethic, I think that’s the main reason they have been selected.”
Junior tight end MyCole Pruitt said he is pleased with who the team selected as captains this year and is looking forward to them providing leadership to the team.
“We have some versatile captains on the team this year,” Pruitt said. “We have some very vocal captains and we have some silent-leader type captains and they all are leaders in their own way.”