Quincy looking for experience

By Gus Bode

While the Quincy Hawks are huge underdogs heading into their bout against the SIU football team, the Hawks are hoping the Salukis could overlook their first opponent of the 2007 season.

The Salukis open their season Thursday against Quincy with a 6 p.m. kickoff. Quincy head coach Bill Terlisner said the Hawks are treating the game as an indicator of their progress thus far.

“You pretty much know we’re a big underdog in this game,” Quincy head coach Bill Terlisner said. “We’re looking to come out, have some success and use this as a measuring stick to see how we’ll do when we get in our conference.”

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Terlisner said the Hawks benefit from the experience of playing a tougher opponent than they’d normally face. SIU is paying Quincy to play up a division, much like NCAA Division I foe Northern Illinois will pay the Salukis for their Sept. 8 matchup.

Defensively, Terlisner said he’s hoping to contain SIU’s running game and force the Salukis to commit to an air attack.

With the ball, he said the Hawks should look to spread the ball out and utilize misdirection and screen plays to take advantage of SIU’s aggressiveness.

Saluki defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said the SIU defense will face its biggest challenge should Quincy spread the field as promised.

“They’re going to make you tackle some guys in space, rather than try to bunch it up on you,” Claeys said. “So that’s our biggest concern, is how well we’ll tackle once they get us out in space.”

If Quincy were to upset SIU, Terlisner said, it would be a big deal.

“We have nothing to lose, but to gain valuable experience and maybe get lucky,” he said.

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A quick look at the scouting report reveals the Hawks tend to use their quarterback significantly in their running game. Last season, Quincy quarterback Matt Wehrle recorded 110 rushing attempts and led the Hawks in rushing touchdowns.

Wehrle, then a senior, has since graduated, leaving the starting duties to junior quarterback Craig Moore, who weighs in at 235 pounds,

“Moore is a big, athletic quarterback. We expect him to run a lot,” Terlisner said. “Athleticism, we’re real excited about, but he has no real experience with us, so Thursday night will be his first true test.”

The Hawks should also split main carries between two running backs: senior Larry Patterson and junior Corey Williams.

Terlisner said Williams is a scatback, while Patterson is a power running back, and both play an integral role in the offense. Last season, Patterson and Williams had three touchdowns apiece on the ground. Williams averaged 5.4 yards per carry while Patterson had 3.4.

“We platoon them. Sometimes we put them out there together,” Terlisner said. “One of them will always be on the field.”

The leader on Quincy’s defense, meanwhile, is junior linebacker Jacob Zsuppon.

Zsuppon led the Hawks in tackles last season with 69 and added two sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss.

Terlisner said Zsuppon is Quincy’s field general when on defense, a role he’s held since he first started as a freshman.

“He’s just our leader on that defense,” Terlisner said. “If he’s not involved, even in practice, we don’t practice as well defensively.”

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

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