Saluki football not dawging the summer

By Gus Bode

Salukis hard at work prepping for new season

The SIU football players lined up in pairs Tuesday outside of the SIU Arena.

It was hot and muggy. The players were dressed in red shorts and gray shirts, some sleeves cut, some not.


They jogged over to McAndrew Stadium. It was a little past 5 p.m., and there are still 72 days left until game time.

But the SIU football team is hard at work this summer, with the determination to win at all costs.

Last year the Salukis finished the season 1-10 with the only win being against Illinois State University. However, the attitude and spirits have changed since then.

“Winning doesn’t come automatically,” said SIU football head coach Jerry Kill. “You have to pay the price to be successful.”

If paying the price means lifting and running like madmen, then the Salukis better be prepared for success. The ring leader behind the exhausting training is strength coach Eric Kline.

The Salukis have been under Kline’s training for about a year and a half.

“It’s been a whole different program,” Kline said. “They know my expectations and the coaches expectations, and it makes them work even harder.”


Undersized and physically beaten last season, the team plans on not letting that happen again. With strenuous summer workouts and enough running to give the track team a run for their money, the Salukis plan to wear down opponents mentally and physically.

“We’re getting to that level,” Kline said.

They even have gone as far as taking Tae Kwon Do during the winter.

“It was great, because it taught us balance and discipline,” said quarterback Joel Sambursky.

With the bar raised, the veterans on the team can see the difference in work ethic.

“This summer is definitely the hardest,” said SIU running back Tommy Koutsos. “Last year we were 1-10, but this year we’ll totally perform at a higher level.”

With new recruits and a year-old coaching staff, the Salukis are still rather young, but high spirits from fans and players shatter the illusion of what happened last season.

The SIU football team will get to prove their hard work and determination Aug. 29, the team’s opening day, under the stadium’s new lights.

“It takes time, and it’s hard to be patient,” Kill said. “You win or lose football games in the off season.”

Reporter J.D. Wright can be reached at [email protected]