/seasons/2011/contrib/20110825jvmz3d

Defense Looks for Stability in 2011

More news about: Mississippi College

CLINTON, MS - In the coming weeks, we will take a chance to preview each position on the field for the Choctaws as we head toward the season opening "Backyard Brawl" on September 3rd against Millsaps.  We invite MC fans to take a look and get more acclimated with the 2011 group of Choctaws.

The schedule will be as follows:

Quarterbacks – August 15th
Running Backs – August 16th
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends – August 17th
Offensive Line – August 18th
Defensive Line – August 19th
Linebackers – August 20th
Secondary – August 22nd
Special Teams – August 23rd
Offense – August 24th
Defense – TODAY
Overall – TOMORROW

As the 2011 season opens, the Choctaws welcome their third defensive coordinator in three years as Chad Walker steps into the position.  The New Orleans native brings a wealth of experience from the NFL with the Miami Dolphins and working with high-profile college coaches in Dom Capers, Will Muschamp, Kirby Smart and Bo Pelini.  The Choctaws finished middle of the pack in the ASC last season in most defensive categories, but they bring back seven defensive starters.  With the experience coming back to go along with a strong recruiting class, MC has a chance to be one of the top defenses in the league.

It all starts up front for the Choctaws as they have a lot of competition for the starting spots with the departure of Nolan Willisson and Jarryn Bingham and Sam Maze making the move to linebacker.  Senior Jeremy Horton will lead the line from the tackle position as he will be charged with holding up the defensive line and allowing the linebackers to make plays.  Freshman John Bertucci will add depth in the middle as his work ethic will give the Choctaws two options at the position.

On the outside, the Choctaws have a big position battle as five players have pushed for the two spots.  Seniors Dekores Branch and Justin McClinton have been impressive in preseason camp and could join Horton to form one of the more experienced lines in the conference.

Junior Paul Turner has come on strong in the preseason, as well.  His work ethic and non-stop motor make it difficult for the coaching staff to keep him out of lineup.  Two freshmen have stepped in and pushed for immediate playing time in Josh Williams and Mike Mitchell.  Both rookies have outstanding athletic ability and will keep the upperclassmen working to hold on to their position.

At linebacker, the Choctaws bring back a lot of experience with six players returning that have starting experience at MC.  Senior Jeremy Bertrand leads the group from the middle after pacing the team with 71 tackles, including 37 solo stops.  The Abbeville, LA native also pulled down three interceptions, while recording double-digits in tackles twice.

Senior Sam Maze made the transition from the defensive line to the linebacker position and will join Bertrand in the middle .  Maze made 19 tackles in 2010 and will team with Bertrand to make the calls for the defense.

On the outside, senior Jarryn Bingham joins Maze as a defensive lineman turned linebacker.  Bingham led the Choctaws with 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in 2010.  The Ridgeland native will have a chance to make plays from his position while continuing to put pressure on the quarterback.

Sophomores Baylor BlanchardLanden Moore, and Dallas Bogle also return to the position after seeing starts during the 2010 season.  Each presents a bright future for the Choctaws over the next three years.  Junior transfer Doc Ward also steps in and will give the Choctaws another dynamic option.

The Choctaws also brought in some promising freshman in the 2011 class with the addition of Dillon Causey and Melvin Dunn.  Both are players that could make an immediate and long-term impact on the MC program.

The defensive backfield also brings back a load of experience as seniors Luke Petitto and Dustin Retherford return for a final season.  Petitto was a Second Team All-South Region selection after leading the Choctaws with five interceptions and finishing second on the team with 64 tackles and 9.0 tackles for loss.  Retherford is the only returning All-ASC player for the Choctaws after finishing third on the team with 48 tackles, while picking off three passes in a win over Howard Payne.

Junior Horace Allen and sophomore Dylan Klibert give the Choctaws viable options in the secondary.  Allen started seven games last season and finished fourth on the team with 39 tackles.  Klibert saw a significant increase in his playing time as the season progressed in 2010 and will provide toughness.  The Choctaws will also use freshman Garrett Horst who provides MC with some size.

The cornerback position is one that brings back a proven player in senior Jarrad Craine.  The Brandon native finished sixth on the team with 37 tackles and hauled in one interception while most teams were forced to throw in the other direction because of his cover skills.

Sophomore Darren Watts is the favorite to man the other cornerback position with his athleticism.  Watts was  safety last season, but has the cover skills to play on the outside.  Freshman Raeon Jones has stepped in and picked up the defense quickly.  The rookie has a chance to push Craine and Watts for playing time.

Tomorrow we will preview the Choctaw schedule.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Massachusetts Maritime at Framingham State
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12:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Juniata
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12:00 PM
Becker at Dean
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12:00 PM
Salisbury at TCNJ
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12:00 PM
MIT at Catholic
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12:00 PM
Merchant Marine at Maine Maritime
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12:00 PM
Endicott at Hobart
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12:00 PM
Nichols at Morrisville State
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12:00 PM
Stevenson at Delaware Valley
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1:00 PM
Widener at Albright
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1:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Montclair State
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1:00 PM
Bethany at Westminster (Pa.)
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1:00 PM
Middlebury at Bowdoin
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1:00 PM
Williams at Colby
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1:00 PM
Amherst at Hamilton
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1:00 PM
Ursinus at Moravian
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1:00 PM
Trinity (Conn.) at Bates
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1:00 PM
Brevard at LaGrange
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1:00 PM
Geneva at Thiel
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1:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Plymouth State
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1:00 PM
Kean at Southern Virginia
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1:00 PM
Frostburg State at Rowan
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1:00 PM
Union at Curry
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1:00 PM
Thomas More at Carnegie Mellon
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1:00 PM
Lycoming at King's
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1:00 PM
Husson at Western New England
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1:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Dickinson
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1:00 PM
Wooster at DePauw
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1:00 PM
Allegheny at Ohio Wesleyan
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1:00 PM
Wilkes at Misericordia
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1:00 PM
FDU-Florham at Lebanon Valley
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1:00 PM
Rochester at Alfred
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1:00 PM
Wesley at William Paterson
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1:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at N.C. Wesleyan
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1:00 PM
Huntingdon at Ferrum
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1:00 PM
Gettysburg at McDaniel
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1:00 PM
RPI at Buffalo State
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1:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Susquehanna
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1:00 PM
Oberlin at Denison
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1:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Northwestern (Minn.)
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Crown at Eureka
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1:30 PM
John Carroll at Heidelberg
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1:30 PM
Otterbein at Ohio Northern
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1:30 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Mount Union
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1:30 PM
Defiance at Rose-Hulman
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1:30 PM
Muskingum at Marietta
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1:30 PM
Franklin at Bluffton
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1:30 PM
Anderson at Hanover
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1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Manchester
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2:00 PM
Worcester State at Westfield State
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2:00 PM
Coast Guard at Norwich
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2:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Fitchburg State
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2:00 PM
Wittenberg at Kenyon
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2:00 PM
Hiram at Wabash
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2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Millikin
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2:00 PM
Sewanee at Millsaps
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2:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at Rhodes
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2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
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2:00 PM
Greenville at Martin Luther
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2:00 PM
Chapman at Trinity (Texas)
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2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Loras
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2:00 PM
Washington U. at Wartburg
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2:00 PM
Hamline at Gustavus Adolphus
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2:00 PM
Augsburg at Carleton
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2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Bethel
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2:00 PM
Dubuque at Luther
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2:00 PM
Nebraska Wesleyan at Central
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2:00 PM
Simpson at Coe
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2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Elmhurst
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2:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
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2:00 PM
St. Norbert at Grinnell
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2:00 PM
Ripon at Knox
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2:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at MacMurray
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2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Howard Payne
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2:00 PM
Southwestern at Louisiana College
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2:00 PM
Monmouth at Macalester
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2:10 PM
St. John's at St. Thomas
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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2:30 PM
WPI at Springfield
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3:00 PM
Beloit at Cornell
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4:00 PM
Utica at Brockport
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4:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Hartwick
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4:00 PM
Carroll at UW-La Crosse
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4:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at St. Scholastica
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4:30 PM
UW-Eau Claire at George Fox
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5:00 PM
Salve Regina at Western Connecticut
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5:00 PM
Adrian at UW-Stevens Point
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6:00 PM
Tufts at Wesleyan
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6:00 PM
Methodist at Averett
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6:00 PM
Centre at Berry
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6:00 PM
Lake Forest at Lawrence
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7:00 PM
Waynesburg at Case Western Reserve
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7:00 PM
St. Vincent at Grove City
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7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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7:00 PM
Lakeland at UW-Platteville
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7:00 PM
Carthage at Augustana
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7:00 PM
Chicago at Illinois College
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7:00 PM
McMurry at Sul Ross State
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7:30 PM
Capital at Wilmington
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8:00 PM
Belhaven at East Texas Baptist
8:00 PM
Arizona Christian at Whittier
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Sep. 23: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Stevenson at Delaware Valley
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1:00 PM
Wesley at William Paterson
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1:00 PM
Rochester at Alfred
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1:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Dickinson
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1:00 PM
Frostburg State at Rowan
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1:30 PM
John Carroll at Heidelberg
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1:30 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Mount Union
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2:00 PM
Wittenberg at Kenyon
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2:00 PM
Hiram at Wabash
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2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Howard Payne
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2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Millikin
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2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Elmhurst
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2:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
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2:10 PM
St. John's at St. Thomas
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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4:00 PM
Utica at Brockport
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7:00 PM
Waynesburg at Case Western Reserve
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7:00 PM
Lakeland at UW-Platteville
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7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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