EIU Looks Solid, Bengals Re-Sign Otis Hudson

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Published on August 12 2013 11:44 am
Last Updated on August 12 2013 11:44 am
Written by Millie Lange

CHARLESTON, Ill. – Both the Eastern Illinois football first teams on offense and defense looked solid Saturday morning as the Panthers wrapped up their first week of camp in preparation for the 2013 season.  The season opener is three weeks away when EIU visits San Diego State on August 31.

The question for EIU is sorting out which players will fill in as the second and third team players on the depth chart as battles take place to make that opening day travel squad.

Returning Walter Payton Award candidate, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, looked sharp in the scrimmage as he directed the first team offense to six scoring drives in the controlled offense versus defense scrimmage.  Garoppolo was 25-of-37 for 349 yards with three touchdowns.  Garoppolo connected with Keiondre Gober, Ryan Meyer and Jeff LePak for the Panthers touchdown passes.  Gober and LePak both hauled in touchdowns of more than 40 yards.

With All-American Erik Lora already cemented in one starting spot in the wide receiver line-up the battle this fall is for the remaining receivers to separate themselves in camp.  Adam Drake had a team high ten receptions for 83 yards.  Brandon Barker had eight catches with Anthony Taylor hauling in six passes.   LePak finished with four receptions for 81 yards.

Taylor Duncan is the veteran in the Panthers backfield as he carried the ball 15 times for 75 yards on Saturday with a pair of touchdowns.  Shepard Little had four carries for 24 yards and a score.  Jimmy Lera added another rushing touchdown with three carries.

The first team defense was solid with seven sacks with Clinton Simpkins leading the way with two.  Simpkins also recovered and returned a fumble for a touchdown.  Pete Houlihan had three pass break-ups while Timotheus Granger batted down a pair of passes at the line.

Cameron Berra ended the scrimmage knocking home a 50-yard field goal as the All-OVC kicker was 4-for-4 in field goal attempts on Saturday.

“The players played hard today.  We had some good long drives which tested the endurance on both sides of the ball,” said EIU head coach Dino Babers.  “We are a week into practice and following today’s scrimmage we can start to work on some of the fine tuning.  We have some intense battles for back-up spots and those guys are giving us exceptional effort out on the practice field.”

Following the opener at San Diego State in three weeks, EIU will play on the road at Southern Illinois on Sept. 7 before the home opener Sept. 14 against Illinois State in the Mid-America Classic.  Season and single game tickets are now on sale by calling 217-581-2106 or online at www.eiupanthertickets.com.

Bengals Re-sign Otis Hudson

Story by:Geoff Hobson, Editor - Bengals.com

In the wake of Bengals rookie left guard-tackle Tanner Hawkinson shelved indefinitely with an ankle sprain, the Bengals reached back into the 2010 draft on Saturday and re-signed guard Otis Hudson.

Hawkinson, who left Thursday's game with an ankle sprain, surfaced in the locker room Saturday wearing a boot. Lewis ruled him out of Saturday's 7 p.m. game at PBS against Tennesse  but said the ankle has improved.

Hudson has spent seven weeks on the active roster since they took him out of Eastern Illinois and has yet to play in a game after he served last season on the practice squad for the third year.

They didn't pursue him in the offseason and he thought about giving up the game, but he didn't and the phone rang Friday. It wasn't for an interior designer.

"I was in the process of trying to be an interior designer.  I just decided to put that on the back burner now and focus on football," Hudson said. "I'm not ready to do that at all. I thought I was, but I'm not.

"I was just trying to find myself in the whole process.  To see if football was really for me," Hudson said. "I think I'm going to play for a while and worry about after football when that time comes."

The 6-5, 330-pound Hudson, 27, had such a good start to training camp in 2011 that the Bengals thought he was practicing at a starting guard caliber. But when he injured his knee early in camp, he never re-captured the form.

He made the club out of camp in 2011 when Bobbie Williams began the season on the suspended list, but Hudson returned to the practice squad when Williams returned. When Williams suffered a season-ending ankle injury, Hudson was signed to the roster for the last three games and Wild Card Game, but was inactive.

"I was at a big crossroads. I had my ups and downs here. It was very frustrating at times," Hudson said. "Now it comes a day at a time. Enjoy the moment.  And see what happens. When I hurt my knee, it took a lot out of me because I set out in 2011 to really prove I could play in the NFL. And when I hurt my knee, I thought I was done. I just have to find that '11 (form) again."