Height: 6-foot

Weight: 198 pounds

Class: Junior

Hometown: Lowell, Indiana 

Matt DeSomer came to SIU as a quarterback. The righty from Lowell, Indiana, about an hour south of Chicago and two hours north of Indianapolis, led Andrean High School to the Class 3A state championship in 2013. They went 15-0, and DeSomer was named Northwest Indiana player of the year by three different publications. He finished third in the voting for Mr. Football, the highest honor in the state. He redshirted in 2014, lost a quarterback race in 2015 to Mark Iannotti, and played wide receiver and backup quarterback. This year he played on special teams and as a backup safety, and has also returned punts in the past, as coaches worked to get him on the field instead of watching the game from the sideline.

When starting quarterback Sam Straub went down with a broken bone in his hand, DeSomer was thrust into the backup role once again. Last weekend against Missouri State he rushed for a team-high 74 yards on a team-high 16 carries, and threw the ball more than he ever had before. DeSomer completed 9 of 12 passes for 77 yards and did not turn the ball over.

In this week's Meet A Saluki, the former signal-caller talks about getting back in the saddle full-time, and how the Salukis have responded to facing a two-game season.

You played the position most of your life, and Sam Straub goes down, and now you're back to being a full-time quarterback. How did that all go down, exactly?

The transition, obviously, it wasn't tough, but I just had to get into that quarterback mode, because all during spring ball, fall camp, I tried to focus on defense. I really didn't work quarterback at all. It was a big shock to me that Straub got hurt. That's just unfortunate, but that's the way football is.

Come up, switch back and focus on offense. That's just what I do and try to help the team.

You've always been a great runner and had good hands, but, the handoffs, the pitches. How was it handling the football in that manner?

I didn't think it was that hard for transition-wise. I guess it's natural. I've done it so many times. The first couple days I was just trying to get back into that motion with the handoff.

The throwing part of it, and reading defense. How has that adjustment come around, in game speed?

It's a lot different. In our offense, I didn't have to make those key reads, like, pull, throw. That's why we took the whole week to kind of get me back and get the rust off.

How did you feel in the game?

Not too bad. I felt like I could have done a lot more things differently. We went over the film on Sunday. I could have done a lot more.

Was it refreshing to finally get that moment behind center, because you came here as a quarterback and have played, primarily, three other positions?

I was pretty happy just making the transition, because when I was at safety, I was just on special teams. Quarterback has been what I've always been doing, and it's fun to be in control.

Coach Hill said your package may expand this week. What has to happen for you guys to win this weekend?

I'm open to anything, and anything that helps our team win.

Do you feel like the team has responded well from Saturday's loss? You have two games to try to get a winning record and put the program headed in the right direction for 2018.

It's always tough after a tough loss like that. Obviously, things didn't go our way, or we didn't do what we were supposed to do. I think every week after a loss you have to just keep pushing forward. 

— Todd Hefferman


Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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