Football opens camp with Sunday morning practice

    WR LaSteven McKinney snags a pass during Sunday's practice.

    WR LaSteven McKinney snags a pass during Sunday's practice.
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    Aug. 3, 2014

    By John Lock

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois football team opened fall practice this morning with a spirited two-hour session at Saluki Stadium. The team will practice daily for the next 15 days and scrimmage on each of the next two Saturdays. As expected, there was a lot of energy from players and coaches on Day One. A few notes from the open of fall camp:

    1. Quarterback Matt Vincent and running back Ken Malcome both did not participate in today's practice with injuries, and both will miss some more time.

    2. Vincent, who is in a three-way quarterback battle with Ryan West and Mark Iannotti, had his right (throwing) hand wrapped. Head coach Dale Lennon said he suffered a minor cut and will be back practicing by the end of the week. Lennon still expects Vincent to challenge for the starting spot, but he said Vincent will need to make up some ground with the extra reps that Iannotti and West will get.

    3. Iannotti and West split time throughout the practice. Both players looked sharp all morning, and both did a good job mixing up aggressive down-field throws with pinpoint check downs. Neither player was facing a pass rush, as the team will wear only helmets until Tuesday.

    4. Lennon said during the MVFC teleconference that he expects to name a starting quarterback after the first week of practice.

    5. Backup running back Ken Malcome was in a walking boot and didn't practice. Lennon said the injury is the result of setbacks in the healing process of his foot problems suffered in spring practices. If all heals well, Lennon said that Malcome will return to practice by the end of camp.



    6. With Malcome sidelined for probably at least 10 more days, redshirt freshman Cameron Walter has "a huge opportunity" to prove himself with the first- and second-team offenses. Walter grabbed hold of the third running back spot during spring practice when Tay Willis made the transition to slot receiver.

    7. An introduction to Cameron Walter: He came to SIU has a priority walk-on and redshirted the 2013 season. At Greenville High School, he put up unbelievable numbers: 4,734 yards and 73 touchdowns.

    8. The two main FCS top-25 polls come out this week. The FCS Coaches Poll will come out tomorrow, and The Sports Network poll comes out on Friday. The Salukis could be ranked in the last few spots but will more likely be among the first few receiving votes. Athlon has SIU No. 20 in their preseason rankings, but Lindy's and Sporting News both left the Salukis off the list.