THE VIKING DEFENSE
(Five starters returning)
Two first team Big Sky selections are gone from a unit that helped lead the conference in scoring defense, rushing defense, pass efficiency and total defense. After seeing spot duty last season former Beaver walk-on Matthis Gehring grabbed the left tackle position while sophomore Casey Taylor filled the right
Gehring worked hard in the off season to improve his quickness and ability to run and as a result is one of the better defensive lineman on the team.
Sophomore Cole Smith starts at left end despite playing
in just six games last year. Senior Ryan Friesen returns after racking
up19 tackles and one interception. Defensive end Noah Wright is an
excellent pass rusher and one of the first players off of the bench.
All-conference linebacker Joey King leads the charge in the middle after finishing second on the team in tackles last year with 63. King also added five tackles for loss, one sack and one interception. King has a similar style to Trent Bray as he leads with his actions and not with his words. He is a student of the game and is always around the ball. Joining him will be D.J. Robinson who grabbed 23 tackles as a backup in 11 games.
Robinson is the polar opposite of King, at least audibly. The Oregon native is similar to Chaz Scott in that he feeds off of emotion.
Senior Steve Shinen, a converted safety, is the team's
co-leading returning interceptor with two picks, including one for a touchdown,
and will fill out the starting linebacking group. Shinen has football
smarts and is meticulous at practice. Senior George Quijano provides quality
depth as he tallied 20 tackles in 11 games last year.
Cornerback Dominic Dixon may be the best player on the defense after earning first team honors as a sophomore. Dixon is a superb open field tackler as he was the team's fourth leading tackler with 53 stops and two interceptions He loves to mix it up at the line of scrimmage and is always around the ball.
Junior Odell Jackson fills the right corner spot after making 28 stops and one interception last season. Jackson has a passion for the game and will be extremely amped for the OSU game.
Senior safety Jamal Abdullah returns after making 43 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, and two interceptions, including one for a touchdown.. Abdullah is a hard worker and one of the team leaders on defense. His start against OSU will be his the 24th consecutive of his career and the most of any returning player. Abdullah plays well against Division I competition as he grabbed a season high 12 tackles against Fresno State in 2004.
Sophomore Jordan Senn mans the other safety spot after earning Co-Special Teams MVP honors and being named to the Big Sky Special Teams all-conference team last year. Senn is another leader on the defense.
Junior Charles Manigo had a fantastic spring and will be one of the first off of the bench in the secondary.