Now the fun begins

By Gus Bode

The time has come for the SIU football team to beat up someone else for a change.

The No. 12 Salukis open their season today against Quincy, hosting the Hawks at McAndrew Stadium for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

The first order of business, sophomore linebacker Brandin Jordan said, is getting after the Quincy players.

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“We need to get a few kill-shots on some of those guys,” Jordan said. “Really, with your teammate, even if you do have a straight-up kill-shot, you’re really not going to take it as hard as you can because you need him for the season. But to be able to unload once we get out there, it’s no holds-barred, no rules.”

Jordan said the Hawks play a lot out of the shotgun formation with their two running backs, Corey Williams and Larry Patterson.

Each had three rushing touchdowns last season, and both are different style runners. Williams, who is 5 feet 4 inches and weighs 162 pounds, is a small quick running back, while Patterson is the power running back.

Quincy’s leader in rushing touchdowns last season was its quarterback, Matt Wehrle, who graduated, leaving the starting duty to junior Craig Moore.

Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said he’s hoping the Salukis will create more turnovers and improve their open-field tackling this season, and both will be evaluated against Quincy.

Head coach Jerry Kill said the Hawks like to spread the field and will try to make the SIU defenders miss tackles – something Quincy excels at.

“And any time you can spread people out, you make one guy miss, you got a chance to score,” Kill said. “That’s the beauty of the spread offense, so we’ll find out how much speed we have on Thursday.”

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With Quincy being the Salukis’ first opponent of the new season, Jordan said they’ve had the most time to prepare for the Hawks.

But because of the clean slate, Jordan said he’ll be ready for anything.

“You really don’t know nothing because they could have changed their whole offense from last year,” Jordan said.

The Hawks hail from the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics, a lower level of college athletics than the NCAA. Because of this, Jordan said the matchup presents an opportunity to get back into playing mode.

Head coach Jerry Kill said he is doing everything he can to prevent SIU from possibly overlooking Quincy.

The Salukis upset the Indiana Hoosiers last season while playing up a division, something Kill doesn’t want to see happen to his team.

“You better be ready to play every week,” Kill said. “If you start counting your chickens before they hatch, you’re going to be in trouble in this day and age.”

Despite playing a lower-tiered opponent, senior running back John Randle said he still has butterflies heading into tonight, but that’s the same for every game.

“If you’re a player and you don’t have butterflies, man, I don’t know what’s going on with you,” Randle said. “It’s not really like a scary feeling, it’s just like, butterflies and anxious to just get out there and play and let loose. After the first few plays, it’s all gone.”

Daily Egyptian writer Scott Mieszala can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 256 or [email protected]

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