Last updated: August 21. 2014 5:35PM - 145 Views
By - eingles@civitasmedia.com



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The Smith-Cotton defense will have a new look this season as first-year head coach Ryan Boyer has installed a 3-4.


The scheme is something Boyer and defensive coordinator Charlie McFail decided to go with after discussions to see what the Tiger players and coaches would be the most comfortable with.


“We don’t want to put either one in an uncomfortable situation,” Boyer said. “In evaluating it, we said that would be the best fit for this group.”


That means some players have different responsibilities on certain plays, responsibilities they now have to get used to.


“This year the guards will be coming to me a lot more,” said middle linebacker Rex Walters. “I have to get faster and get past the guards.”


It also brings a new mindset as the Tiger defense looks to continue getting penetration into the backfield, which they proved to do quite well at times last year.


“We want to bring pressure on every down from numerous angles,” Boyer said. “I think the kids are starting to understand they don’t have to break through the line and make a tackle. If they can penetrate and take on a double team or even a triple team, they’ve done their job. They’ve freed up space for a linebacker.”


On the defensive line, Barry Rivera returns at defensive end with Chris Caballero at nose tackle. Dalton Trimble, Ryan Lefevers, LJ Marsh and Austin Jaekel will also see playing time up front.


“We hold the ground and contain the middle and just let the linebackers fly,” Marsh said.


“It’s nice that we can rotate them in in waves and really keep those guys fresh,” Boyer said. “They have nice size, but we also have personnel that can be quick.”


Walters leads the linebacking corps in the middle with Carlton Homan and Noah Azierre. Ricky Warren and Steven Archibald will see playing time at outside linebacker.


In the secondary, Jake McFail, Logan Parham and Dalton Zaremba will see playing time at safety. Josh Hartman, Jayce Simoncic and Lane McFail will be cornerbacks with Blake Jackson playing both corner and safety.


“What we’re stressing to them is don’t give up the big play,” Boyer said. “Stay deep and understand the coverages.”


Big plays proved to be a problem at times for Smith-Cotton in 2013, including in a 56-15 loss to Helias that saw a 62-yard touchdown on the Crusaders’ first play from scrimmage and two more touchdowns in Helias’ first nine offensive plays.


But Smith-Cotton is also the team that shut out Orchard Farm and stifled Warrensburg and Washington. With added depth, they hope to have more games in 2014 where the Tiger defense stands tall.


“We’re looking pretty good,” Walters said. “This year there are fewer athletes on defense but we’re more of a team.”


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