Faulkner optimistic as Salukis head West

By Terrance Peacock

Don’t rule me out coach.

This sums up the words senior quarterback Kory Faulkner said to coach Dale Lennon days after suffering a joint strain in his left shoulder during Saturday’s game against the University of Charleston.

But that doesn’t mean he will be ready in time to play Saturday against Southeast Missouri State at St. Louis’s Busch Stadium.


Faulkner is a three-year starter and a leader for the SIU football team. He is a warrior, and I’m sure it will kill him if he can’t suit up in a game that means so much to not only the football team, but also the university as a whole.

On the other hand, he also means too much to the team to put him out there before he is ready.

On how Faulkner’s injury has progressed since Saturday, Lennon said Faulkner feels better.

“He felt good enough to come into my office and say, ‘Don’t rule me out,’” Lennon said. “He wants to be out there on Saturday, and in his mind, he says, ‘If it’s hurt, no big deal. Everybody deals with a little pain.’”

Faulkner might be able to deal with the pain enough to give it a go Saturday, but the decision is not in his hands.

“That’s the mentality you want to hear from all your players, but that doesn’t mean that he’s going to be cleared to play,” Lennon said. “But his head is in the right place.”

So far this season, Faulkner is second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and 23rd in the nation in passing yards with 249.7 yards per game.


Faulkner is having a career year for the Salukis and in three games has thrown eight touchdowns with no interceptions. Faulkner had 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in the 2012 season.

If Faulkner won’t be able to handle the pain in order to play, it would be a tough loss for the Salukis, but not a loss too big for SIU to handle short-term.

Redshirt freshman Ryan West will get the start at quarterback Saturday if Faulkner can’t play.

West played well for the Salukis Saturday in his first-ever appearance in a Saluki uniform. He completed half of his passes with two touchdowns and an interception.

Lennon said he will take the right steps to ensure West will be successful Saturday if he does get the start.

“The biggest thing is that he’ll be taking the bulk of the first team repetitions,” Lennon said. “Usually the starting quarterback will take about 60 percent of the first team snaps. Also, we have to make sure that we have plays in that he likes because every quarterback has a set of go-to plays for certain situations.”

Lennon won’t be able to open up the playbook as he does with Faulkner, who has been familiar with the offense for five years, but I believe West will be up for the challenge.

West held his composure when he was inserted into the game Saturday. The game was still close and the Salukis were driving the field when Faulkner was injured. West came into the game, and the offense didn’t miss a beat. West continued to drive the Salukis down the field, and capped off the drive with his first career touchdown pass.

This is the composure West will need to have to put the Saluki offense in a good position to score Saturday, especially with the unfamiliarity of the field, and the bowl game atmosphere that will be provided in St. Louis.

The rivalry between SIU and SEMO is intense, and the game has taken a twist with this year’s move to Busch Stadium. The fans will be loud and the environment will be nothing like the football team has experienced before. If Faulkner can’t give it a go, let’s just hope all directions point West for the Salukis.