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Salukis open new stadium
Inside one of the few completely finished areas of Saluki Way, Southern Illinois University football coach Dale Lennon smoothed out his 2010 squad Friday.
Lennon, new offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer, defensive coordinator Kyle “Bubba” Schweigert and a few players met the media inside the Salukis’ new locker room Friday afternoon as part of media day. SIU officially opened practice later that afternoon at Saluki Stadium. The Salukis will open the 2010 campaign against NAIA opponent Quincy on Sept. 2 with big expectations.
Earlier this week, SIU was picked to win the Missouri Valley Football Conference for a third straight year, and the Salukis have been selected as high as fourth in the country in preseason polls. Lennon, who has won the league’s coach of the year honor in each of his first two seasons in Carbondale, tried to keep the focus on football.
“I know there’s a lot of anticipation surrounding Saluki football right now, and it is a very exciting time to be a part of the program,” Lennon said. “Part of our challenge here with pre-fall is just to keep the focus on our preparation, keep the focus on football. It’s great that we got the new facilities.
“It’s definitely going to make a difference, but at the same time, we’ve gotta make sure that we keep the old-fashioned preparation as our goal, and do the things that allowed us to be successful through the years, continuing to do that in our pre-fall preparation.”
SIU finished 11-2 last season, falling to William & Mary in the Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinals, 24-3. The Salukis have reached the postseason seven straight years and return 10 of 24 starters.
By Todd Hefferman, The Southern