Arkansas State defensive end Tim Starson is in his third season at ASU, a redshirt junior from Fort Smith, Ark. Starson had a break-out season a year ago, playing in all 12 games and starting in four.
While he still battles teammate Brandon Joiner for a starting position, Starson plays an important role on the Red Wolf defense — though he's not completely satisfied with being number two.
"I'm trying to continue to get better. I'm a number two right now, always battling Brandon and just trying to win a starting job," Starson said.
"I do what I can for the team, like Coach Freeze is always talking about, it's more than just ourselves it's about the team this year, and I think a lot of people have bought into that. And I'm not settling for being a back-up, but my time will come when my number's called."
What Starson contributed to his team a year ago isn't something to be overlooked, either. He recorded a career-high of 14 tackles, and he recorded a team-high of four blocked kicks — the second most in school history for a single season. Starson also blocked three kicks in a single game, a tie for the most in ASU history for a single game.
Starson said the Arkansas State defensive players are constantly competing with one another, making each other better along the way. He described the defense as "a lively bunch," and said much of that is due to the enthusiasm and coaching of defensive coordinator Dave Wommack.
"He wants us to fly around, have fun, and just swarm the ball," Starson said.
Though the Arkansas State offense seems to be a bit banged up from the first three games of the season, the Red Wolf defense has remained in pretty good health — with just "some tired legs this week," according to Starson.
"The defense is really healthy, actually," Starson said. "If we continue to stay healthy we'll be a great defense."
There's no secret recipe for the good defense Arkansas State has been playing so far this season, just hard work and focus, Starson said.
"I just approach every game the same, just to keep working and keep working as a team to get better," Starson said. "I think we need to continue to get better as a defense, correct the little things and I think we'll be great."