CARBONDALE — It has been a three-way battle in training camp for SIU’s starting quarterback spot. The competitors–redshirt freshman Nic Baker, sophomore Stone Labanowitz, and juco transfer Kare Lyles.
Saluki head coach Nick Hill announced late Monday afternoon that Labanowitz will get the start next Thursday night at SEMO.
Labanowitz was third string last year behind Sam Straub and Matt DeSomer. He played in one game last year and redshirted. He missed most of spring drills while recovering from a back injury, but was the most consistent of the three competing for the starting spot in training camp. As a freshman at ASA Junior College (NY), he completed 72 percent of his passes, throwing for 2275 yards and 23 touchdowns, while leading his team to a 9-1 record.
Hill held his first weekly press conference of the season Monday morning, but because he had not informed all the players involved at that time, he did not directly address who would be his starter.
"Putting great players around your quarterback is going to make that guy look better," said Hill. "It starts up front. I think you have to be able to run the football to have some success at quarterback. It doesn’t matter who is behind center, that philosophy won’t change."
Hill says they are working with the team in all facets of game prep including scheduling ahead of next Thursday night’s season opener.