Daily Egyptian

Dawgs put to rest early this season

By Thomas Donley, @tdonleyDE

SIU football coach Dale Lennon was not happy with how late in the season the Salukis’ bye week came in 2014.

This year, the Salukis bye week is this Saturday — Week 3 — Lennon thinks it’s too early.  

“I think your best bye week date would be week four, five or six,” Lennon said in a press conference Sept. 7. “But it is what it is.”

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However, after the Salukis’ 0-2 start, Lennon said the week off could be beneficial.

“You never know when a good time for an off week is,” Lennon said Monday. “I think this is a good time for us. We’re coming off two games where we’re very disappointed to be sitting at 0-2.”

SIU plays its final nine games with no break. Last season it played nine games before its lone break.

All other Missouri Valley Football Conference teams except South Dakota  — which also has its break this week — has their byes in week four.

But Week 4 was the only date SIU could add an 11th game. 

Andy Pettit, associate athletic director of facilities and game operations, said Liberty was the only Football Championship Subdivision school with an open date in week three or four that could add a road game. 

“We had two weeks to schedule one game,” Pettit, who is in charge of scheduling for football, said. “The schedule is made up years in advance. It’s not as easy as saying, ‘Hey, coach, when would you like your bye week?’ Sometimes it sets up that you have a bye in week three, sometimes it’s later in the season.”

The Salukis started the 2014 season 5-1, but lost three straight games heading into the bye week. SIU’s lone win in the second half came Nov. 8 at Missouri State, during the week immediately following the bye. 

Senior defensive tackle Raysean Golden said the Salukis entered last year’s bye week beat up, but he does not expect the string of nine straight games to close this season to hurt SIU.

“I don’t think it’s going to have an effect on us,” Golden said. “We’re some strong guys — mentally, physically, everything. The coaches do a very good job of pushing us.”

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @tdonleyDE. 

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