Aug 8, 2012
By Tom Weber
CARBONDALE, IL - Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, "Determine never to be idle. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing."
Saluki redshirt freshman tight end Adam Fuehne can relate to Jefferson's axiom of hard work. Fuehne's parents own not one, not two, but three family businesses.
For starters, the family farm would be enough to keep Adam and his two brothers busy by itself.
"Farming is pretty demanding," said Fuehne, who could operate a tractor in his sleep. "You have to be out there at six in the morning and don't get home until dark. Then you wake up and do it all over the next day."
As if the farm weren't enough to occupy Adam's time, there's Fuehne's Tavern -- a bar and grill in tiny Damiansville, Ill., that his grandparents opened more than 50 years ago. It has been owned and operated by his parents for the last 27 years.
Every morning, the tavern has to be cleaned and the supplies refilled in time to open for lunch. The three Fuehne boys rotate between jobs.
"If one of us is in the tavern, the other two might be out working on the farm," he said. "Sometimes, I'll cook lunch if my parents are busy doing something else."
Perhaps the most challenging business the Fuehnes own is his father's logging operation. Dave Fuehne and his sons will drive anywhere within a 100-mile radius to do a job.
"I learned a lot about handling adversity from logging," Adam said. "If you want a tree to go one way, and it falls the wrong way, it could smash a saw. You have to be able to fix that saw in the middle of the woods and you don't have anybody to help you."
Logging is both difficult and dangerous work. Adam vividly remembers a near deadly accident that happened when he was 10-years-old. Adam's job was to carry gas and oil around for his dad, while his older brother Nick operated a skidder.
Thankfully, the worst of Nick's injuries were 20 stitches to the back of his head.
As a redshirt freshman at SIU, who is currently No. 2 on the depth chart at tight end, Fuehne takes with him the lessons he's learned from his upbringing.
"I learned that you can't complain and you have to be the first one there and the last to leave," he said. "My parents always taught me to push through stuff and persevere."
The 6-foot-7, 260-pound business management major said he hopes to turn his love of sports -- he played football, basketball and baseball in high school -- into a career after graduation. He would like to try a marketing job with his hometown St. Louis Rams.
"I want to try doing something different, but if it doesn't work out, I can always come back to the family business," he said.
It was the hottest day yet of camp with temperatures pushing 90 degrees by late morning. A cold front is expected to bring rain tomorrow and considerably cooler temperatures.
Tomorrow will be the first day in full pads and full contact, but there was plenty of contact already this morning. The Salukis have seven true freshmen on the offensive line, and it was fun to watch them battle the upperclassmen in one-on-one blocking drills today. G Jake Notario (6-4, 320, Fr.) showed impressive power and balance in pass protection, while OT James Rooks (6-6, 300, Fr.) manhandled LB Jayson DiManche on an attempted speed rush. Last year, Tanner Crum showed that it's possible for a true freshman to make an impact.
The left side of the offensive line seems set with LT Richard Wilson and LG Nate Haremza. The coaches are experimenting at the other positions. C Tanner Crum was working at RG today, while Eric Bergman played center. Victor Craven moved back to RT today after working at RG yesterday.
The most impressive play from the offense was a deep pass from QB A.J. Hill to WR Josh Sullivan. The receiver beat double coverage and fully extended to make the grab. QB Kory Faulkner was picked off twice in the Red Zone -- one each by safeties D.J. Cameron and Q'Niko Thomas.
There were a number of VIPs at practice today. An Arizona Cardinals scout was on-hand to check out DE Ken Boatright. Also watching from the sideline were men's basketball coach Barry Hinson and AD Mario Moccia.
Two members of the Media Services staff (Scott Gierman and Tyler Wooten) took notes while I was on a conference call today during part of practice. They report being impressed with the play of several players, including RB Antonio Banks (IU transfer has improved speed since spring), WR Shawn Mitchell (showing LaSteven McKinney-like skills in the slot), QB Mat Vincent (strong arm and nice touch) and CB Kaleb Humphrey (great leaping ability and coverage instincts). Tyler noted that Cameron has three interceptions in camp so far, and the redshirt freshman is not going to surrender his starting job to an FBS transfer willingly.