Aug. 11, 2011
By Jason Clay
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois football team completed its fifth practice of fall camp Thursday morning, going in full pads for the first time.
Head coach Dale Lennon is seeing the progress he wants to see, saying, "we keep building and building."
"We're starting to see it all come together and guys are stepping up," Lennon said. "Guys are competing against each other and that's exactly what I want to see on an every day basis."
With the first two-a-day practice scheduled for Friday, and the first scrimmage of the fall on Saturday, players have started positioning themselves atop the depth chart.
Sophomore safety Boo Rodgers has been one that has stood out on the field. He has been making plays everyday, which was no different Thursday when he had one interception and caused another. That came when he knocked the ball out of John Lantz's hand and into the waiting arms of linebacker Bryan Presume near the end of practice.
Defensive coordinator Bubba Schweigert says that Rodgers is a different player from his true freshman season. He played in nine games last year, had 17 tackles and became the first Saluki freshman in 29 years to lead the team in interceptions (he tied for the team lead with two).
"This year, he understands our scheme much better," Schweigert said. "He's just a different player from last year to this year. He still has a lot improvement to make and he can get better and better, but he's got a lot of talent, so that helps."
Schweigert complimented his defense saying that they have done a nice job learning the system in camp.
"We were better today than we were yesterday, and we were better yesterday than we were the day before. I'm liking that and we are making progress, but we got a long way to go yet."
The Salukis practice twice on Friday (8:15-10 a.m. and 3:15-5 p.m.) and then hold their first scrimmage of the fall on Saturday morning at 8:15.