Ready for action: Salukis host final scrimmage
By Todd Hefferman, The Southern
Friday, August 28, 2009 2:34 PM CDT
CARBONDALE - The burst, and the shimmy, were officially back for Deji Karim on Thursday night at McAndrew Stadium.
One came before the other in the final scrimmage of the preseason for Southern Illinois University. Karim, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound fifth-year senior, lost two defenders with a spin move to his left on one carry, then bolted through a hole on the left side for a 26-yard gain. It was the longest play from scrimmage in SIU's 69-play exhibition in front of nearly 1,000 fans.
"A lot of the other guys were saying it felt like a scrimmage, but to me, it felt like a game, because I hadn't been out there," said Karim, who carried the football for the first time since 2007. "I haven't been out here for awhile, and I'm loving every bit of it."
Karim finished with 37 yards on four carries in his first action since partially tearing his right patella in the summer of 2008. He redshirted last season and is expected to share carries with projected starter Richard White this season.
White was held out of Thursday's scrimmage as he continues to recover from a turf toe injury. He was the Salukis' second-leading rusher last season behind Larry Warner and is expected to be ready for SIU's opener Sept. 5 at Marshall.
Karim led the Salukis with eight rushing touchdowns in 2007 and had nine carries of 10 or more yards. In his first action in front of fans in nearly two years, he showed the ability to have a few more big plays.
"That was a positive with the run game, was Deji Karim stepped up today, and, in fact, the one big run, he had two guys come free in the backfield, and he made 'em both miss, and he did that on his own," SIU coach Dale Lennon said. "I'm excited that he's at 100 percent right now. He's ready for the season."SIU now turns its attention to the Thundering Herd.
"Right now, the only way we'll get any better is if we play another team, so, that's why we're happy the fall is done with, and it's game week," Lennon said.