Football Salukis head into offseason looking for improvement - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Football Salukis head into offseason looking for improvement

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CARBONDALE -- With the 2017 Saluki football season in the books, many players are left with a bad taste in their mouth with how the season played. The Salukis head into the offseason trying to figure out what did and did not work for the team.

Some of the top performing Salukis agree the season did not go as they had hoped.

"To be honest, I'm kind of disappointed in a lot of phases of the game, myself included. I just feel at times, we didn't take advantage of the opportunity that presented themselves," said SIU junior wide receiver Darrell James.

"Just a lot of plays that haunt me going back. Thinking about it, that we could've done better, and a lot of games that I think we should've won that we didn't," said SIU junior quarterback Sam Straub.

Despite the let downs from this season, the Salukis head into the offseason focusing on getting better for next season.

"Sometimes everything's not going to work out like you want it to. So we got to do a better job of pressing on and ignoring the distraction, and ignore the noise, and concentrate on the positive things, and go execute," said SIU offensive coordinator John Van Dam.

One positive to look forward to is the youth coming back coming back with experience next year, and a new senior class to lead the way.

"And then that next class, the big deal is going to be for them obviously to step up, and take those leadership roles, and hold each other accountable. Those are types of areas I think we can get better as a group," said Van Dam.

The junior class is already working on that accountability, planning to make the most of their offseason, especially in the weight room.

"This offseason, I'm just looking forward to getting after it with the guys, once again there's going to be a younger team coming in, with a lot of senior leaving, a lot of important seniors leaving. And there's going to be a lot of big shoes to fill, I'm excited to see who's going to step up and who's going to take those leadership roles for the team," said James.

"The injuries made me realize a lot. How short it could be taken away from you, how quickly it can be taken away from you, so there's no off time for me," said Straub.

Those returning players will have about four months before they will return to the field for spring drills. Then in nine months, it will be time to lace it up for the 2018 season.

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