Aug 16, 2012
By Tom Weber
CARBONDALE, IL - Long before he was interested in football, Saluki senior outside linebacker Kevin Reed was a budding lacrosse star.
Most sports fans in southern Illinois have never even seen a lacrosse game in person. Maybe that's because the only Division I schools within a 500-mile radius that sponsor the sport are Notre Dame and Ohio State. Lacrosse is popular in pockets of the country -- primarily in the northeastern United States, but also in the state of Colorado, where Reed grew up.
"It's an old Indian game that originated in Canada," he explained. "It's a stick with kind of a basket at the end of it. You have a ball and the concept is like hockey, where you try to score it in the goal. You wear a helmet and shoulder pads and it's very physical."
After his family moved to Walnut Creek, Calif., near San Francisco, Reed became a three-time All-Conference lacrosse player and a member of the California Select team.
Reed also ran track and played for the football team at Las Lomas High School, but he admitted, "I didn't really know how to play football until I was a junior."
He said he was fortunate to be coached by former NFL standout linebacker Greg Biekert, who put Reed's blazing speed to good use on the defensive line.
"Coach Biekert taught me how to pass rush," Reed said. "I ended up loving football and making sacks."
Twenty sacks in his last two years of high school, to be precise. Reed soon had offers to play Division I football at schools such as Fresno State, San Jose State and San Diego State. His academics weren't up to par, however, so he landed close to home at Laney College.
In his second season at Laney, Reed tore the ACL in his knee and missed the entire year. He bounced back in 2010 with 13 sacks, re-establishing himself as a Division I prospect. He'll never forget the day he got the call from Southern Illinois University.
Reed admits the 2011 season, his debut in Carbondale, did not work out as planned.
"I thought we had an extensive defense in junior college, but it turns out it was extremely basic," he said. "Here, you have to know about 50 things when you go into a game -- calls, plays, adjustments, formations, tendencies. In junior college, we just went."
Struggling to learn Schweigert's complex scheme, the 6-foot-2, 229-pound outside linebacker played in just six games as a junior at SIU.
"My eyes would get big and I'd freeze," he said. "I was expecting to come in and do what I did at Laney College, and I couldn't even get on the field."
Listed No. 2 on the depth chart behind Jayson DiManche this fall, Reed said he has finally settled into a groove.
"This week is probably the most comfortable week I've ever had here," he said. "When I've been on the field, I know exactly what I'm doing."
Reed hasn't complained about a lack of playing time at Southern. His father, who is a police sergeant in Oakland, wouldn't approve.
"My dad was in the Navy and it was always, `yes sir, no sir' when I was growing up," Reed said. "If you're wrong, you get punished."
Although they live halfway across the country, Reed keeps in close contact with his parents. He feels fortunate to still have his dad, Kevin, Sr., who had a brush with death when Reed was a young boy.
"My dad was working undercover in a bad part of Oakland, and he was shot twice," Reed recalled. "He was in critical condition in the hospital and the bullets just missed his vital organs by inches."
Reed's mom has a much safer line of work -- she's a Genius Bar specialist for Apple.
"I'm a big Apple guy," Reed said. "I have an Apple TV, a couple iPhones, a Macbook - pretty much everything we own is Apple."
His goal for 2012 is to add some sacks to his collection.
These are the "dog days" of camp when bodies start to wear down and patience wears thin. Coach Lennon told the team after practice today that, "the great ones can break through that wall" of fatigue.
Quarterback Kory Faulkner suffered a minor knee injury in practice on Wednesday and did not practice today. Coach Lennon said Faulkner should be fine and they are being extra cautious because of his knee surgery last spring. The junior QB might practice tomorrow, Lennon said.
Lots of good one-on-one combat between the offensive and defensive lines today. DEs Kyle Cavil and Adam Brandt each beat their man twice. C Tanner Crum was an immovable force. LT Richard Wilson is the team's best pass blocker.
True freshman FB Kaid Koester, a Carbondale H.S. grad, is making a strong impression. He's a willing blocker and shows good hands as a receiver. Koester worked with the first team today, because FB Ray Agnew was sidelined with a minor injury.
Notes from staffer Tyler Wooten: "The DBs and WRs went live in one-on-one tackling drills today, and here are some of the notable performances...S Dante Lewis showed good wrap-up technique to take down WR David Lewis...WR Josh Sullivan got around CB Kaleb Humphrey with a wicked spin move...WR Carl Harris spun past S Darius Merriweather...CB Emmanuel Souarin packed a punch with several of his tackles today, including blows to WRs Kennington Easley and LaSteven McKinney...S Anthony Thompson didn't bite on WR John Lantz's juke move and wrapped him up in textbook fashion...LaSteven McKinney showed his explosive ability to change direction, dodging S Carlton Lewis...WR Billy Reed did the same thing to CB Trey Colbert, leaving the defender on the ground...CB Tay Griffin made initial contact on Kennington Easley, but Easley timed his spin just right to escape his grasp...John Lantz was stopped by CB Terrell Wilson who caught Lantz by the feet and brought him down...On several tackles today, S D.J. Cameron showed good mechanics to wrap up the receiver, which is a must-have when you're the last line of defense."