BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) – With 5 starters graduating from a season ago and former co defensive coordinator Brian Bergstrom leaving for the head coaching position at Winona State, there will be an adjustment period this spring for the Jacks defense.
“For us its really trying to teach and become better teachers for our younger guys that way they can step out here and just play because we have a lot of youth and there are some experienced guys with a ton of reps but as a whole we need to collectively get better,” SDSU Defensive coordinator Jimmy Rodgers said.
The Jacks front 7 will have some holes to fill. Reece Winkelman and Caleb Sanders return, but Thomas Stacker, Xavier Ward, and Tolu Ogunrinde are all gone to graduation. The Jacks do welcome back Isaiah Stalbird and their leading tackler from a year ago in middle linebacker Adam Bock. But perhaps the biggest loss comes at will Linebacker, a position that belonged to Logan Backhaus for the past 5 seasons.
“I defnitnly have to have more of a leadership role on the defense. We have a young back end of the defense and that’s where Logan was kind of that leader last year and now I kind of have to step up in that role and lead the defense,” SDSU junior linebacker Adam Bock.
In the secondary, senior standouts Michael Griffin and Don Gardner leave room for new player makers, and along side Malik Lofton and Dyshawn Gales, there may be one emegering at cornerback
“Dalys Beanum has taken huge jumps from the spring to the fall and I think he’s due for a big role for us and we’re excited about his progress,” Rodgers said of the junior cornerback.
Like any other year, rolls will change. But the demand will not.
“The standard is extremely high so to get these guys to come out and practice with energy at six in the morning, they have to come out here and bring it every day and that’s kind of the focus. Focus for the two hours that we’re on this field and really mentally lock in and get the most out of practice,” Rodgers said.