Aug 28, 2012

Cody talked about | The Spectrum

Original story HERE

Young defense ready for challenge of USU

Written by
Tom Zulewski
9:02 PM, Aug 28, 2012

CEDAR CITY — As the Southern Utah football team faces its 2012 season opener Thursday at Utah State, the defensive unit has plenty of work to do as they look to slow the in-state rival Aggies.
And they’ll do it with a group of four seniors, three juniors and four freshmen sitting at the top of the depth chart.
In years past, that inexperience may have given the T-Birds pause, but not so this time around.
Southern Utah's defensive lineman Kouri Jones gets ready
 to hit an offensive lineman during Tuesday's practice.
/ Asher Swan / The Spectrum & Daily News
Led by senior lineman Cody Larsen, a second-team preseason All-American selection, SUU has the weapons to handle the pressure Utah State will provide on the ground.
Head coach Ed Lamb said the T-Birds are ready and aren’t letting the opponent dictate their approach.
“We’re much more concerned with what we’re doing and not what Utah State is doing,” Lamb said. “Game 1 can always be a dangerous situation in trying to game-plan based on what the opponent did last year.
“What we know is we’re playing the hottest team in Utah. They’re very fast and very well coached.”
While the T-Birds look to reduce the 173 rushing yards per game they allowed to opponents in 2011, the defensive line also had 31 sacks, including six from Larsen, which ranked second on the team behind 10½ from the graduated Tyler Osborne.
But in the secondary, SUU has two juniors leading the charge, including cornerback Tyree Mills and safety Tommy Collett.
“With Tyree, we’re the older brothers in the secondary,” said Collett, who had 40 tackles and recovered a pair of fumbles last season. “We try to help out everyone pre-snap and get them in range so we’re mentally prepared and don’t make mistakes.
“Be prepared and in the right place before the play even happens.”
Joining Collett and Mills in the defensive backfield will be freshman cornerback LeShaun Sims and redshirt freshman safety Miles Killebrew.
“When our defense is focused and we handle our side of the ball, we can compete with anyone out there,” Killebrew said.
Added Collett: “It gives us an opportunity to play (teams) at a higher level to see where we’re at for (Big Sky) conference play. This is a great opportunity for us and the university.”
But as for any potential mind games with the focus turning to the Aggies, both Collett and Killebrew aren’t taking part in any gamesmanship.
“That’s not our job,” Collett said. “We’re focused on playing and getting ready for the game.”
“As Coach (Lamb) says, we’re focusing on our one-eleventh,” added Killebrew.
Last season, SUU’s secondary returned five of its nine interceptions for touchdowns.
Other seniors at top of depth chart include lineman Jeff Tukuafu and linebackers Namari Flentroy and Ricky Clark. Defensive tackle Brad Meyer is the only other junior expected to start, as is freshman defensive end James Cowser and linebacker Zak Browning.

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