New offense on display in Saluki Football's first spring scrimmage

    Cameron Walter

    Cameron Walter
    Football Home

    43 Salukis earn academic honors from MVFC

    Hill announces addition of five new Salukis

    Jerry Kill to be inducted into 2016 Kansas Sports Hall of Fame

    Official Athletics Twitter
    Official Athletics Facebook
    Official Athletics YouTubeDesktop Wallpapers
    Football promotions

    Top 25 Rankings


    April 5, 2014

    By Tom Weber

    Photo Gallery

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - During Saturday's scrimmage at Saluki Stadium, the Southern Illinois football team gave fans their first glimpse of a new-look offense that will be built around a power running game, mobile quarterbacks and play-action passing.

    The Salukis have a stable of backs that feature returnees Malcolm Agnew and and Ken Malcome, plus redshirt freshman Cameron Walter. All three were impressive today.

    Agnew had 39 yards on nine carries, including a 13-yard TD run off left tackle where he bounced off two defenders and lunged across the goal-line with safety D.J. Cameron wrapped around his waist. The Oregon State transfer is coming off a 2013 season at SIU in which he rushed for 888 yards and nearly five yards per carry.

    Malcome, who transferred to Southern from Georgia last summer, had 21 yards on five carries and displayed the bruising style that was his trademark last season. The most eye-opening performance among the running backs, though, was turned in by Walter, who had 46 yards on 10 tries, as he consistently eluded tacklers and found daylight to run.

    "We feel we have a running back corps that will be pretty special," Lennon said afterward. "We have to find ways to get them into the second level, and overall, I thought the offensive line showed good potential at doing that."

    He praised the play of Walter but acknowledged that many of the yards came against the third and fourth-team defenses.

    "His ability to break tackles we saw in high school and that's what we thought we'd see here," Lennon said. "With this performance today, I think we can give him some reps with the 2s and the 1s and see what he can do at that level."

    The quarterback competition remains wide open among returnees Ryan West and Matt Vincent, plus Eastern Michigan transfer Mark Iannotti. The quarterback who wins the starting job will need to be both an effective runner and play-action passer, as evidenced by the new scheme installed by offensive coordinator Bill O'Boyle.

    Iannotti completed 9-of-14 passes for 112 yards and had a picture-perfect 31-yard touchdown strike to Billy Reed. Vincent was 5-of-8 for 78 yards and his best passes were a precisely thrown 19-yard fade route to Tay Willis for a TD and a 10-yard scoring pass to fullback Mika'il McCall. West also had a TD throw of 16 yards to Connor Iwema in the face of heavy pressure from defensive end Calvin Belts. West was also picked off twice by safeties Kenny James and Cameron.

    "I like the toughness of all three (quarterbacks)," Lennon said. "We went live on the quarterback and they took some hits. They were looking to take some hits. They didn't back down from anyone and they ran the ball hard and fought for every yard, and made throws under duress."

    Lennon said the quarterbacks will be carefully evaluated and that the circumstances of the personnel they are working with must also be taken into account. SIU is without three starters (All-American tight end MyCole Pruitt, center Tanner Crum, tackle Ethan Wirth) who are recovering from injuries.

    "It's going to be tough for a quarterback to look real good sometimes when they're in there with the 4s," Lennon acknowledged. "You want to make sure they're getting a fair amount of opportunities with the same guys."

    Defensively, SIU returns nine starters, and Lennon is looking for play-makers to build out the depth chart on that side of the ball. SIU forced 18 turnovers last year -- a number he would like to improve upon in 2014.

    "We put guys in enough different situations where they had to perform, and sometimes offensively we did well, and sometimes defensively we did well," Lennon said. "I did see players making plays, and that's what's encouraging."

    SIU will hold another live scrimmage at 9:30 a.m. next Saturday.

    Cameron Walter - 10 att, 46 yds
    Malcolm Agnew - 9 att, 39 yds, 1 TD
    Ken Malcome - 5 att, 21 yds
    Tay Willis - 2 att, 13 yds
    Matt Vincent - 5 att, 5 yds
    Mark Iannotti - 1 att, 1 yd
    Ryan West - 2 att, -2 yds

    Mark Iannotti - 9-14, 112 yds, 1 TD
    Matt Vincent - 5-8, 78 yds, 2 TD
    Ryan West - 5-11, 37 yds, 1 TD, 2 Int

    Connor Iwema - 2 rec, 44 yds, 1 TD
    Tay Willis, 4 rec, 37 yds, 1 TD
    Billy Reed - 1 rec, 31 yds, 1 TD
    Shaq Findlater - 3 rec, 26 yds
    LaSteven McKinney - 3 rec, 28 yds
    Ahmad Hicks - 2 rec, 16 yds
    Hans Carmien - 1 rec, 13 yds
    Josh Skadeland - 1 rec, 12 yds
    Mika'il McCall - 1 rec, 10 yds, 1 TD
    Cameron Walter - 1 rec, 10 yds

    Total Tackles
    9 Kenny James: 6
    22 Jordan Poole: 5
    28 Chase Allen: 5
    43 Carl Bivens: 5
    1 Anthony Thompson: 3
    8 Darius Merriweather: 3
    16 Marcus Miller: 3
    33 Charles Harris: 3
    39 Dinnus Harding: 3
    51 TJ Beelen: 3
    52 Blake Mattson: 3
    91 Kitray Solomon: 3
    6 D.J. Cameron: 2
    13 Markese Jackson: 2
    26 Jory Cunningham: 2
    36 Lamonte Edwards: 2
    42 Brandon Minor: 2
    82 Brandon Williams: 2
    93 Raysean Golden: 2
    97 Blake Miller: 2
    2 Courtney Richmond: 1
    7 Garrett Pugnet: 1
    19 Devon Mathis: 1
    24 Tyler Williamson: 1
    29 Ahmad Hicks: 1
    35 Calvin Belts: 1
    50 Antony Greenhow: 1

    8 Darius Merriweather: 1
    22 Jordan Poole: 1
    24 Tyler Williamson: 1
    97 Blake Miller: 1

    6 D.J. Cameron 1
    9 Kenny James: 1

    Pass Break-ups
    1 Israel Lamprakes: 1
    7 Garrett Pougnet: 1
    16 Marcus Miller: 1
    16 Marcus Miller: 1
    22 Jordan Poole: 1
    29 Boo Rodgers: 1
    36 Lamonte Edwards: 1
    97 Blake Miller: 1