SIU quarterback battle is still a coin flip

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SIU quarterback battle is still a coin flip

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)

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)

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)

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)

By Jacob Gaertner

The Saluki football team is in the midst of a quarterback battle with less than two weeks until its opening game of the regular season.

Sophomore Sam Straub and senior Josh Straughan lead the way for SIU quarterbacks. The two alternated first team reps Saturday night during SIU’s final preseason scrimmage.

Coach Nick Hill refrained from naming a starter after the scrimmage but said the coaching staff would watch film and decide accordingly.

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“That’s up to the coaches,” Straughan said when asked about who would start. “I think, in the QB room, we’re all good quarterbacks.”

The competition is so close that Hill said he had the two decide who would start Saturday’s scrimmage via coin flip.

Sophomore quarterback Sam Straub practices his throw April 1 during Saluki Football's first-ever scrimmage at DuQuoin High School. (DailyEgyptian.com file photo)

Sophomore quarterback Sam Straub practices his throw April 1 during Saluki Football’s first-ever scrimmage at DuQuoin High School. (DailyEgyptian.com file photo)

Straub won the flip and started the scrimmage with the first team, completing five passes on nine attempts for 57 yards and two touchdowns.

“We’re competing every day for the job,” Straub said after the scrimmage.

Straub said he has a good sense of Hill’s offense and can read how defenses play against it. Despite his confidence, Straub doesn’t quite have the starting spot locked up.

“I command well,” Straub said. “Making good decisions and having toughness are my big attributes.”

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

Last season, Straub completed his one and only passing attempt, which went for 12 yards in his limited time when games got out of hand.

After last season, Straub appeared to be the next man up for the Salukis with last year’s starter and backup — Mark Iannotti and Matt McIntosh — both graduating.

Then Straughan transferred in, adding another option for Hill in his first year at the helm.

Quarterback Josh Straughan looks to make a pass during SIU's fall football scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, at Saluki Stadium in Carbondale. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

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

Straughan is a transfer from Stillman College, a then-Division II school in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

He played for three seasons, amassing 5,470 passing yards and 53 touchdowns in 24 games while earning First Team All-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference recognition in 2014.

Straughan passed 12 times during the scrimmage, completing nine passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.

The only other quarterback to see playing time in the scrimmage was sophomore Matt DeSomer, who was used more for his legs than his arm.

MORE: SIU football hopes to see brighter days thanks to Sunshine State

DeSomer attempted six passes and completed four of them for 31 yards, but rushed the ball eight times for 30 yards. He was used mostly in wildcat formations last year and tallied 23 carries for 111 yards.

All three quarterbacks utilized their legs Saturday, rushing for a combined 62 yards on 17 carries, more than the six running backs who combined for 21 yards on 13 carries.

“Running is just as good as passing for a five-yard gain,” Straub said. “If your first or second read isn’t there, check down or take off.”

Regardless of who Hill picks, there will be big shoes to fill in replacing Iannotti.

The recent graduate led the Football Championship Subdivision in total offense, averaging 355 yards per game with 33 total touchdowns en route to being named the quarterback of the All-Missouri Valley Football Conference team.

The chosen quarterback will get his first start in a Saluki uniform at 5 p.m. Sept. 3 against Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, Fla.

MORE: Once an opponent, new SIU defensive coordinator becomes ally on sideline

Staff writer Jacob Gaertner can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JGaertnerDE.

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

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