Fall Camp: Evaluating the defense

BF.com evaluates the defensive side of the ball heading into day 10 of fall camp.

Defensive line.

Junior Jeff Van Orsow has steadily improved, but it still remains to be seen if he can be that dominating force that the team needs. Senior Joe Lemma has improved as well and has snuck into the backfield several times.

Junior Dorian “Smitty” Smith is still adjusting, learning the schemes and terminology, and is starting to play faster. The need for Smith to step up just amplified itself with the suspension of Joe Rudulph. Victor Butler is also seeing lots of time on the end.

Senior Ben Siegert and the spirited Curtis Coker seem to have a lock on the starting tackle spots. Juniors William Vea and Nayman Frank, before he hyperextended his knee, were working into the rotation. Pernell Booth is also in the mix as he has shown the ability control his spot on the line.

Much like Smith, transfer Gerard Lee is still learning the defense, but coach Joe Seumalo says he “comes in low and hard” and is expecting him to start to playing faster shortly.

 

Linebackers.

Alan Darlin, Derrick Doggett and Joey LaRocque continue to come together as a unit. Darlin brings the muscle and excels in stopping the running game, Doggett excels at covering receivers and blitzing, while LaRocque is a mix of the two. Each one is excellent at wrapping up the opposition as well.

But the starters, especially Doggett and LaRocque, must stay on their toes as Dennis Christopher and Isaiah Cook have impressed with their big hits and athletic ability.

 

Cornerbacks.

That lockdown corner may already be on campus and the good news is he is here for two more years following this season. Sophomore Keenan Lewis has been superb as the quarterbacks rarely complete a pass on his side of the field. On other side of the field, it is a different story.

Brandon Hughes and Coye Francies continue to battle for a starting spot. Each one has made good plays in both coverage and stopping the run. They could rotate in and out early in the season as the coaches try and find a starter.

 

Safeties.

Sabby Piscitelli and Al Afalava are performing at a high level along with Bryan Payton. Each one of them can bring the lumber with good speed.

This fan thinks the safeties will make the opposing receivers get alligator arms and create some good memories for the Beaver faithful.

 

Punter.

Supposedly Jon Stowbridge and Kyle Loomis are competing for the starting punting job, but Loomis is clearly the frontrunner.

In just a few weeks he has improved his footwork and is now working on his drop and getting the ball off quicker. Hang time and distance are not an issue as he has an extremely strong leg.

Loomis will most likely be inconsistent in his first year and if he struggles Stowbridge could come in for a few snaps. The ultimate goal is to get to Sam Paulescu’s level where he can punt the ball anywhere he wants and handle any type of snap. But that comes with time, practice and experience.


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