New coach brings grit to O’line


By Terrance Peacock

With a three-year starter at quarterback and an improved set of skilled players, Saluki football fans will count on the team’s offense to put up a lot of points this season.

However, as with any other offense, it starts with the offensive linemen who are willing to step in the trenches and keep those skilled players safe.

This season’s offensive line will look to new coach Bill O’Boyle for guidance in ways to excel at one of the field’s most important but underrated positions.


O’Boyle is in his 28th collegiate coaching season. Last season, he served as offensive coordinator at Colorado Mesa University before he was hired in March as the Salukis’ offensive line coach. Before that, he served as the head coach from 2005-2011 at Chadron State College, where he compiled a 57-21 overall record that includes three consecutive undefeated regular seasons and three Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference titles from 2006-2008.

O’Boyle was also named the Liberty Mutual Division II Coach of the Year in 2007, the American Football Coaches Association Region 5 Coach of the Year and much more.

Chris Stein, offensive coordinator at Chadron State, served as quarterback’s coach under O’Boyle and shared nothing but positive sentiments about O’Boyle and the time he spent working under him.

“Coach O’Boyle is probably the best football coach I’ve ever worked with, and one of the best that has been at the school,” Stein said. “Anytime you give a man with that caliber of coaching football an opportunity, he’s going to do great things.”

O’Boyle said the main difference between his two previous schools and SIU is the talent level.

“It’s a faster game,” he said. “We didn’t have the athletic ability that we have on this club right now.”

O’Boyle brings a lot of experience and wisdom to the offensive line, and he said it all comes down to aggression.


“The offensive line is about 95 percent being aggressive,” O’Boyle said. “More of a controlled aggression is what they have to have, to where they can pick things up and move together. You’re relying on the guy next to you.”

O’Boyle said athleticism is one main attribute he looks for in his linemen that distinguishes who may get the starting nod before someone else.

“I’m not really concerned about weight and height,” O’Boyle said. “I love linemen who can get downfield and who can move.”

Head coach Dale Lennon said O’Boyle brings toughness to the table when it comes to his linemen.

“He really holds his guys accountable and what they do in practice I think develops that toughness. Our players are relishing it; they enjoy the fact they know that they are becoming physically and mentally tough,” Lennon said.

Junior offensive lineman Corey Boemer said O’Boyle is an intense guy on the field but a great guy off the field.

“On the field he is intense, pushes technique and he is always on you, but at the same time you can always go up to him and ask any question,” he said. “He’s a great coach.”

Boemer said finishing the play off is what he has learned most since O’Boyle has become coach.

“He pushes (finishing) every play,” he said. “He always talks about from the minute the whistle is snapped to the minute the whistle blows. He’s really hard on that.”

O’Boyle has strong ties to SIU. His uncle, Tom O’Boyle, was the Salukis’ defensive coordinator from 1968-1973. Two of his brothers, Mike O’Boyle and Dennis O’Boyle, lettered in football at SIU in the early 1970s. Two other brothers, Kevin O’Boyle and Tim O’Boyle, played football at SIU.

O’Boyle said this was one of the things that attracted him to the job.

“I’ve known SIU since I could remember,” he said. “I have four older brothers who played here, so I can remember coming down here as a little kid. I can remember when they put turf in on McAndrew (Field). I was here when they did that.”