When Deonte Gibson talks about his team's success, he mentions the word adversity. As he described one of his team's practices, it's easy to see why the Eagles have defeated traditional Ohio powers Archbishop Moeller, St. Xavier and De La Sales in the last three weeks. Gibson's team isn't just competing with its competitive schedule this year. They are dominating its competition. It starts with competitive practices.
"The way we practice sets us up for success," Gibson said. "We try to set up our defense in the worst-case scenario every day. When game time comes, we're trained to adjust to adversity. We make things rougher in practice, which makes us play so hard."
After practicing with the defense, he then lines up against the first-team offense, specifically the offensive line This is a line that includes 2011 Northwestern commit Geoff Mogus and 2012 Ohio State commit Kyle Kalis.
"I have yet to find an o-line that's close to our o-line," Gibson said. "It's not just because they're big. They're pretty well with the way they can move their feet. They're big and strong. They beat up on us, but we beat up on them too."
For the season, Gibson has 14 sacks and three forced fumbles.
On top of the challenging practices, and the battles with his own offensive linemen every day, St. Edward has played a number of road games, and neutral site games. It's rare to appreciate home-field advantage.
"For some reason this year, we've been playing away from our stadium more than we've actually been there," Gibson said. "We've adjusted to playing away from home a lot, going through that adversity. We've had a lot of stayovers in hotels."
Though the team has a 9-0 record, and it sounds like the team has a lot of obstacles to get through, is there room to have fun as a football player at St. Edward?
"We have a good group of guys," Gibson said. "They are the funniest guys you would ever want to meet. We have a lot of fun."
Gibson also keeps tabs on his future school Pitt. He says that he has kept in touch with running backs coach David Walker, his future position coach Greg Gattuso and head coach Dave Wannstedt throughout the season.
"A lot of players (on his team) are saying they are worried about Pitt," Gibson said. "I watch them and I keep up with them. They've had some injuries. They've adjusted to it, and they're still at the top of the Big East. I can appreciate that, after the season Lakewood had last year."
He has also taken notice of Pitt's defense averaging three sacks a game, tied ninth nationally in that category.
"That's pretty exciting," Gibson said. "Our d-line, we're averaging four or five sacks a game. It seems like it's pretty much the same thing there. The d-line is the center of the defense. They're the toughest guys out there. That's pretty much what we have here. It's going to be a nice adjustment going to Pitt."