Lennon Likes Expanded Role
CARBONDALE -- There's a new energy at Saluki football practices, and it starts with the head coach.
"Coach Lennon is bringing a lot more energy to the defense," said senior tight end MyCole Pruitt. "They're riled up on every play. They're out there flying around, and if they're not, Caoch Lennon is right there to get on them."
When defensive coordinator Bubba Schweigert left SIU to take over as head coach at North Dakota, Saluki head coach Dale Lennon had an idea. Lennon decided not to hire a replacement, instead choosing to go back to his roots and take over the defense himself.
Players, such as senior lineback Tyler Williamson, see a lot of advantages to Lennon taking over the reins of the defense.
"I think it's really good for the young guys," Williamson said. "They get to see the coaching side of his personality. In years past, these younger guys might have felt more distant, 'okay, he's the head coach, we don't deal with him too much.'"
"The fun thing about coaching is actually coaching," Lennon said. "Sometimes when you become a head coach, you get caught up in all the admininstrative stuff and making sure everyone is doing okay. You do get separated, so to kinda get back in the grind and get down and dirty, that's why I got into it. And that's what I do well."
The new role for Lennon means he must have a split personality in practice. Success by the offense will upset the D-coordinator side, while the head coach can enjoy it, at least on the inside.
"You know I have to keep that perspective in mind as I go through this," Lennon said. "There are times when you give up plays defensively, and I just gotta tell myself 'that was a good offensive scheme or a good offensive play that was made by an individual and get excited about it.'"
Lennon added he worked to get into great physical shape in the offseason to prepare for the additional workload.
The Salukis will hold their first scrimmage of training camp Saturday morning.
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