Daily Egyptian

The return of Mika’il McCall

By Tony McDaniel

Most people rarely get the opportunity to redo something in life they regret, but one member of the Saluki football team finds himself with that opportunity.

Mika’il McCall’s 2013 season was cut short after just one game due to a disciplinary dismissal, according to siusalukis.com.

McCall rushed for 489 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2012. In 2013 McCall was set to be the Salukis number one option at running back, but only carried the ball seven times for 24 yards.

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Head Coach Dale Lennon said the specifics of McCall’s dismissal were a personal matter between the two of them, but McCall said his ego caused issues between he and the coaches.

“Me and the coaches were on different terms,” McCall said. “I had a little attitude problem at first and they wanted to check it and get me back humble.”

McCall was forced to sit out for the remainder of the 2013 season. McCall said he handled his dismissal well.

“For the most part I think I did pretty good,” he said “I didn’t make any foolish mistakes off the field. I didn’t get too angry about it, I was patient and slowly came back on the team.”

McCall returned to the Salukis in March and was moved from running back to fullback, which is a more team-based position based less on running with the football and more on blocking for the ball carrier. McCall said Lennon mentioned that the move was partially to humble him but based more on team needs.

McCall said he has enjoyed the switch to fullback.

“They needed someone to fill the position so I stepped up,” he said. “Blocking is what I need to work on anyways, so it was a pretty good transition.”

Lennon said McCall has come to practice every day with a great attitude and he has enjoyed having him back on the team.

“The thing I’ve really been happy with is he wants to be on all the special teams, and he’s worked his tail off to be on all the special teams,” Lennon said. “You’re going to see him as one of those guys that fans love to watch running down on kick off cover.”

Since practices leading up to the 2014 season began, opportunity has knocked again for McCall.

The Salukis are lacking depth at the running back position. Senior Ken Malcome has missed all of the preseason practices because of an injury leaving senior Malcolm Agnew and three freshmen to carry the load at running back. The shortage of experience in the Saluki backfield has led to McCall taking reps at his familiar position of running back.

McCall rushed 10 times for 45 yards in the Salukis’ scrimmage on Aug. 9.

“He’s a pretty good running back.” Lennon said. “When he is running the ball I actually worry about getting someone hurt on defense because he has that hit.”

Agnew said having McCall back is a benefit for the whole team.

“Whether he’s a running back or a fullback he’s going to be a good addition to the team,” he said. “Anytime we have a play making back in our offense it’s a plus.”

McCall said regardless of how he ends up helping the Salukis this season he is just happy to be back with the team.

“I like being back with my brothers and everything, I know they’re happy I’m back too,” he said. ” I’m just here to win.”

Lennon said he hopes McCall’s attitude issues are behind him and that the two share a strong relationship. Lennon considers himself McCall’s biggest fan.

“It’s one of those things with player and coach that sometimes you go through some rocky roads,” Lennon said. “Now I think we’ve got some good pavement in front of us.”

wwTony McDaniel can be reached at [email protected], @tonymcdanielDE or at 536-3311 ext. 256

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