Defense in Football: The Name of the Game
SAGU meets Langston at home on Saturday
Defensive Coordinator John Allen discusses Lions
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Tomorrow’s Central States Football League game between Southwestern Assemblies of God University and Langston University will pit a pair of teams whose defense is their backbone
Both teams share the same mascot, the Lions, but the visitors from Langston, Oklahoma (45 miles northeast of OKC) have enjoyed the upper hand in the series.
They won last year’s meeting, 21-7, as both teams forced two turnovers. LU had a slight edge in total offense, 292-278 yards. SAGU picked up 17 of the game’s 30 first downs.
Saturday’s encounter could well be decided by defense and turnovers again. Or, perhaps, by the weather.
Forecasters are calling for temps in the mid 80’s, winds around 12 mph and a 40% chance of scattered thunderstorms all afternoon.
Langston operates out of a base 4-3, and is very athletic according to SAGU Offensive Coordinator, Frank Tristan.
Their front four features Jerome Muhammad (6’0, 255, Soph) and Thomas Worthen (6’1, 215, Sr.). The latter has two sacks.
Another player to watch is Outside Linebacker / Defensive Back Chace Green (6’3, 220, Jr.) who averages 10 tackles per game.
SAGU Defensive Coordinator John Allen addressed his squad’s play last Saturday in Shawnee, Ok. against Oklahoma Baptist University, in a brief Question & Answer.
Q: Other than the 8-play, 80 yard drive early in the game, the defense was outstanding. What was the key?
John Allen: The defense actually played well all the way through. They did a great job of adjusting and communicating.
There are areas where we still need to improve, but the players like the changes we have made to the defense. They feel pretty comfortable with it at this point.
Q: How about the play of Ike Caston and Rodney Johnson on the D-Line?
JA: Ike and D.J. both played well. Ike has played consistently at a high level throughout the season so far. ‘DJ’ has played well and shown his ability to make big plays at big times.
Harry Ford played a very good game at Oklahoma Baptist. What he did may not always show up in the stats column, but that does not mean that it is less important.
He made plays by taking on the blocks, shrinking the running lanes that made it much easier for linebackers and other linemen to fill. Those things don’t show up in individual stats, but they sure have to happen to have success on the defensive side of the ball.
It is similar to what an offensive lineman does for the QB and running backs. They don’t get the headlines, but they make the plays go so the QB’s and running backs do.
Q: Jeff Howeth led the team with 11 tackles and was named the CSFL Defensive Player of the Week. Assess what he brings to the table.
JA: Jeff has a great background in football. His dad is a coach and Jeff has been around the game his whole life. It makes a difference.
He has good speed and plays aggressively. He is still learning our system, but he flies around the field and makes plays.
Jeff is very competitive and doesn’t want to settle for less than his best effort. We expect great things from him as we continue through the season.
Q: The defense also came up with another interception. Who made the pick?
JA: The interception was by sophomore Trevor Van Kempen. He has a knack for getting himself into the passing lane.
Q: The Lions put considerable pressure on the Bison’s QB, Cale Grauer. What was the plan?
JA: We really played a very basic game plan. We are trying to keep it simple and just let our guys play. They have taken to it and done well.
SAGU -vs- Langston could make or a break the season for either team
Langston has played four NCAA FBS teams (see scores below), all on the road. Getting a good read on the team is a challenge so far.
SAGU will need to adjust ‘in person’ to a team they have yet to beat.
Langston Lions Schedule to Date
8-31 @ Northern Colorado (Colo) (1-5) L 10-31
9-14 @ Incarnate Word (Tex) (3-3) L 0-24
9-21 @ Nicholls State (Tex) (3-2) L 22-42
9-28 @ Northwestern State (La) (3-2) L 0-37
10-12 @ SAGU (2-2) 2:00pm
Opponents' current W-L record in parentheses.