Daily Egyptian

5 things we learned from SIU football’s final preseason scrimmage (PHOTOS)

Players+race+for+the+ball+during+SIU%27s+fall+football+scrimmage+Saturday%2C+Aug.+20%2C+2016%2C+at+Saluki+Stadium.+%28Ryan+Michalesko+%7C+%40photosbylesko%29
Players race for the ball during SIU's fall football scrimmage Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

Players race for the ball during SIU's fall football scrimmage Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

Players race for the ball during SIU's fall football scrimmage Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

By Jacob Gaertner and Ted Ward

After weather cancelled it the first time around, the SIU football team finally held its fall scrimmage Saturday.

A small group of fans gathered to watch the 2016 version of the Salukis take the field, giving them a better idea of what to expect from this season. Here’s what we took away from it.

Offense:

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We now have a better idea who the starting quarterback could be

The quarterback battle appears to have narrowed down to senior quarterback Josh Straughan and sophomore quarterback Sam Straub.

Both players saw first team snaps with Straughan leading the first unit out on the field to start the scrimmage.

Coach Nick Hill said not to read too much into it as both players flipped a coin to decide who would lead the team on the field first.

Straub went 5-for-9 passing for 57 yards and two touchdowns, while Straughan went 9-for-12 passing for 92 yards and a touchdown.

The Salukis have playmakers on offense

It didn’t matter if Straughan or Straub was on the field, the offense moved the chains.

Both quarterbacks have shown the ability to scramble if they come under pressure.

When they had time to throw, the two found senior wide receiver Jimmy Jones who caught four passes for 37 yards and a touchdown. The quarterbacks also found sophomore tight end John Gardner, who caught a short pass in which he took 70 yards for a touchdown after a block from a teammate.

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Whoever the starting quarterback is will also have the services of six-year seniors Israel Lamprakes and Billy Reed. Neither recorded a catch tonight.

The biggest weapon the Salukis have is sophomore running back Daquan Isom. Isom had an injury scare late in the scrimmage but walked off under his own power and later said he was feeling good.

Isom was second on the team with 548 rushing yards last season and could be a breakout player in this offense.

Senior quarterback Josh Straughan launches a pass during SIU's fall football scrimmage Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, at Saluki Stadium in Carbondale. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

Defense:

The secondary appears to be a weak spot on the roster

The defense seemed susceptible to the deep ball, giving up a more than 20-yard touchdown.

They had three defensive pass interferences called on them, setting up the offense for three field goals.

We know the man coverage to zone coverage ratio

The defense played almost exclusively zone, which gives everybody a set area to defend. It worked well when everybody did their job, but when one person messed up, it opened a hole.

If the secondary doesn’t clean this up, it could cause issues all season.

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The defense plays conservatively

There were almost no blitzes during the scrimmage, which is a trademark of defensive coordinator Kraig Paulson’s defense and was exacerbated by trying to keep players healthy.

Staff writers Jacob Gaertner and Ted Ward can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected] or on Twitter @JGaertnerDE and @TedWard_DE.

To stay up to date with all your SIU news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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