Coach Dale Lennon
Nov. 11, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Saluki football coach Dale Lennon held his weekly press conference on Monday. SIU will play its final regular season home game of 2013 when the Salukis face Illinois State for Senior Day on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. at Saluki Stadium.
Q: How do you feel the team has rebounded from Saturday’s loss?
“It’s tough to tell. Naturally, the disappointment is there with the loss. That’s why you come in on Sunday and watch film. For a coach, Sunday is like therapy. You get to watch the film and get a better understanding of what’s happening. Then you move on from there. Today, you get completely submerged in the gameplan for Illinois State. It’ll be interesting to see how the guys show up on Tuesday, but I’m guessing they’ll be ready to go to work.”
Q: Illinois State has won three of its last four games. What impresses you about them?
“They are becoming better. Their quarterback, Blake Winkler, has been developing his game through the season and has been playing with a lot of confidence. The running game is very impressive. Illinois State has four of its five starting linemen from last year. They have some quality backs that can get you with the north-south running attack. You have to do a good job slowing down the run. Defensively, they have a number of guys returning. They have had some difficult games on the road. I thought the game against North Dakota State was really impressive. Illinois State is probably playing its best football right now.”
Q: What is your analysis of the defensive effort last Saturday?
“We have to be consistent in our play—going through our reads, picking up our keys and just keeping to our assignments. Our defense has been something that we can hang our hat on, but lately the defense isn’t playing at the level we are accustomed.”
“We play one week at a time. We haven’t had to adjust a thing because all we want to do now is win this week. We don’t have control of our own destiny. I don’t know what our possibilities are after this week. Everyone is asking me do I believe we have a chance. I know we won’t have any chance if we lose this week.”
Q: What was your take on Ryan West’s second start?
“He was much more comfortable in the pocket. Early on I think he executed the game plan very well and made some good throws. He had the one mistake that ended up being costly. Nine out of 10 times, he’s going to make the throw he is supposed to make, but for whatever reason he chose the corner route. That’s a young quarterback. He’s going to try to make plays. I talked to him today and he’s excited for the next challenge.”
Q: Saturday is Senior Day. What has this group meant to the team?
“It’s interesting to see how some guys have gotten to this point in their career. It’s a unique mixing of people who come together as a family. They are brothers. The senior group is special to the team. Next year they will be alumni. You want to make these last couple games a positive experience for them. You want them to feel good about their time here at SIU. Winning can put a positive exclamation point on it.”
Q: What do you think about about Illinois State quarterback Blake Winkler’s game?
“He’s going to be a special quarterback. He’s already a good quarterback. His arm strength is good, he’s making good reads in the secondary, and he’s making some difficult throws. You can see his improvement from the beginning of the year. The biggest thing is his confidence. That’s why they have been able to win a number of games lately.”