Nov 15, 2012
By Scott Gierman
CARBONDALE, IL - If things don't go well on the field, Bryan Presume's teammates aren't likely to hear him complain. In fact, they aren't likely to hear much of anything from him. The junior linebacker could be classified as the strong, silent type.
"I'm a really laid back guy," Presume said. "I don't say too much. I observe a lot and try to stay conscious of my surroundings and everything."
When explaining why he's been able to step up his production this season, his first as a starter with the Salukis, he doesn't waste words trying to complicate things. Presume says his approach has been simple.
"My mentality is just always try to get to the ball," he said. "Wherever the ball is, I just try to get there. I think that's why my production went up from last year along with more playing time."
This season, he's had success getting to the ball as he leads the Salukis with 71 tackles. In addition to being SIU's leading tackler, he has an interception and two forced fumbles.
Bryan Presume returns a fumble 100 yards vs. Northern Iowa.
The second-year Saluki has more than tripled his tackle total from 2011 when he played in all 11 games for Southern, but did not make any starts. He said he wasn't getting to the ball quickly enough last season. Already one of the most impressive Salukis when it comes to pure strength in the weight room, he worked on increasing his speed this past offseason and slimmed down with more running than in previous years.
"Last year, I was about 240 (pounds) and wasn't really moving very well so I decided to cut down about 10 or 15 pounds," Presume said. "It's been helping me in that effect."
Although he worked on his speed, Presume probably didn't expect to be able to show it off as memorably or for as long a run as he did during a school-record 100-yard fumble return at Saluki Stadium earlier this season.
"(The offseason speed work) helped me until about their 40-yard line," Presume said. "Then I just kind of lost gas a little bit, but I got there anyway."
While Saluki fans may remember him for that long run, he has caught his teammates' attention for another reason. He estimates he has close to 30 pairs of shoes, something his teammates have teased him about. His collection includes basketball shoes, casual shoes, boots and more.
"I'm just really into fashion so I like clothes and shoes, but mostly shoes," Presume said. "It's just always something that has been with me."
He lists the names of his favorite throwback basketball shoes by name. While he hasn't picked up a new pair recently, he says that for a while he was buying a new pair every few weeks.
However, Presume hesitates to call himself the most fashionable player on the team because he keeps it casual during the semester.
"I don't dress up too much going to class or whatever," Presume said. "I'm just a gym-short guy going to class right now."
As this season winds down, Presume figures to head into 2013 as the only returning senior starter among the Salukis' seven-man defensive front. As a senior leader, his teammates may hear a little more from him.
"I'll just try to get the younger guys more equipped with the system and just try to get them to learn the system so we can do the same thing that we did this year for next year," Presume said.