Offense shines in first fall scrimmage

    Quarterback Paul McIntosh threw for 141 yards with one touchdown on 10-of-13 passing Saturday

    Quarterback Paul McIntosh threw for 141 yards with one touchdown on 10-of-13 passing Saturday
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    Aug. 13, 2011

    By Jason Clay

    Saluki offense beginning to master DeBoer's complex scheme

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois offense had the upper hand in the first scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday at Saluki Stadium, as SIU made big plays both passing and running the football.

    Southern Illinois ran 51 plays going up and down the field on drives while also focusing on third down situations and some red zone work.

    Head coach Dale Lennon came away from the scrimmage impressed with how well his team responded to what the coaches threw at them in their first live action of training camp.

    "Today was won by the offense, and usually after your first scrimmage you don't say that," Lennon said. "That's a positive, now I hope the next time the defense steps up and makes life miserable on the offense. That is the give and take that you look for as a coach."

    The Saluki offense looked confident in their system and established a good rhythm in the scrimmage. Junior quarterback Paul McIntosh had a big day, completing 10-of-13 passes for 141 yards with one interception and one 51-yard touchdown pass to John Lantz.

    "Everyday we just try to go out and get better," McIntosh said. "I thought we did good offensively. We were really physical up front. The offensive line did a great job, both in pass protection and controlling the line of scrimmage in the run game."

    Lantz was the favorite target on the day, as he finished with five catches for 100 yards and the one touchdown.

    The score came on a third-and-6 at the 49 when McIntosh avoided a sack by stepping up in the pocket. He kept his eyes downfield to find Lantz, who broke free to the right, caught the ball and then outraced the defense to the end zone.

    "One of our strengths [offensively] will be that we have some playmakers," Lennon said. "That's been an emphasis during pre-fall and since last year, we need more explosive plays, and I think we have guys that can do that."



    SIU used three tailbacks in Saturday's scrimmage and all three had success. Junior Jewel Hampton had the most carries with nine for 31 yards, and he showed the ability to get yards when nothing was there. He had an impressive 17-yard run where he dodged several defenders, but the play was called back because of a block in the back.

    Steve Strother had five carries for 22 yards and Shariff Harris also ran five times for 32 yards with one touchdown. Harris' rushing touchdown was a 21 yarder where he took a handoff up the middle and made a sharp cut into open space that allowed him to blow by the defenders.

    The defense, at times, was able to disrupt the offense in the backfield. A quarterback pressure caused McIntosh's lone miscue, an interception that was picked off by Scott Cole.

    SIU's two other quarterbacks batting with McIntosh for the starting job made plays as well. A.J. Hill was 5-for-8 passing for 47 yards and Kory Faulkner was 3-for-7 for 52 yards. Faulkner hooked up with Mike Cornely on a third-and-4 for a 46-yard completion that brought the ball down inside the five-yard line.

    The wide receiver group as a whole showed well, and 10 different Salukis had catches in the scrimmage. Cam Fuller had two catches for 21 yards and David Lewis hauled in three passes for 21 yards.

    "We just like to be physical and make every play that comes our way," Lantz said when asked about the wide receivers. "I think that we have some downfield threats and have some slot receivers that are pretty physical and find a way to get open. We can make some big plays."

    Lennon hinted that his team is a lot further along in camp than they normally are after the first week of practice.

    "We ran the type of scrimmage today that we usually reserve for the second scrimmage," Lennon said. "We were moving the ball up and down the field, using the 40-second clock, using all the components offensively and defensively and we really didn't dumb-down anything scheme wise."