Football team begins Spring Ball on Monday

    Lennon enters his sixth season at SIU with a 35-23 record.

    Lennon enters his sixth season at SIU with a 35-23 record.
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    March 22, 2013

    By Tom Weber

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois University football team begins Spring Ball on Monday with an early-morning practice at Saluki Stadium. The practice, which starts at 6:30 a.m., will be the first of 15 workouts permitted by the NCAA. Most of the sessions will take place in the early-morning hours.

    "Early-morning practices have worked out well for us in the past," said head coach Dale Lennon, who enters his sixth season at SIU and has a 35-23 record. "It frees up the rest of the day for our student-athletes to go to class and for the coaches to meet with players and go over film."

    Practices are open to the public. The team will practice from 6:30-8:30 a.m. on Mar. 25, 27, 29 and April 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 15 and 17. There will be Saturday scrimmages on April 6 and 13 at 9:30 a.m. The annual Spring Game is on Friday, April 19, at 7 p.m.

    SIU returns eight starters on offense, including quarterback Kory Faulkner and All-American tight end MyCole Pruitt. They've also added BCS transfers at running back in Ken Malcolme (Georgia) and Malcolm Agnew (Oregon State), who both have starting experience. Agnew will not join the team until the summer. The Salukis must replace six starters on defense, including all three starters on the defensive line.

    Lennon also announced on Friday that he has filled the opening on his coaching staff by hiring Bill O'Boyle as the school's offensive line coach. Phil Meyer will move from offensive line coach to the running backs spot, replacing Steve Crutchley, who left for Western Illinois University after the 2012 season.



    O'Boyle was the offensive coordinator last season at Colorado Mesa University. From 2005-11, he served as the head coach at Chadron State College, where he compiled a 57-21 overall record, including three-consecutive undefeated regular seasons and three Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference titles from 2006-08. His .750 winning percentage was the third-highest for active coaches in Division II entering the 2011 season.

    Under O'Boyle's guidance the Eagles won 28-straight RMAC games and earned three NCAA Division II playoff berths, advancing to the quarterfinals in 2006 and 2007 and to the second round in 2008.

    A three-time RMAC Coach of the Year, O'Boyle was named the Liberty Mutual Division II Coach of the Year in 2007. Twice, he was named American Football Coaches Association Region 5 Coach of the Year, and he was also the 2006 Sportexe Division II Coach of the Year and Football Gazette National Coach of the Year. He coached 13 All-Americans and nine Academic All-Americans during his tenure at Chadron State.

    O'Boyle has strong ties to both SIU and the Missouri Valley Football Conference. His uncle, Tom O'Boyle, was the Salukis' defensive coordinator under Dick Towers from 1968-73. Two brothers, Mike O'Boyle and Dennis O'Boyle, lettered in football at SIU in the early 1970s. Two more brothers, Kevin O'Boyle and Tim O'Boyle, played football at Southern. Bill played and coached football for MVFC school Western Illinois.