Statistically, the Northwestern State Demon defense was at
best average in 2011. The unit, which bills itself the Purple Swarm, allowed 27
points per game and 388 total yards per contest.
Rushing defense was solid, but no more. The Demons gave up
136 rushing yards per contest and allowed opposing ball-carriers
four yards a tote. That latter number is not good considering the FCS level of
On pass defense, the Demons were overly generous, but were
also opportunistic. They gave up 252 yards through the air per outing and
allowed a high 7.1 yards per pass attempt, but also pilfered 16 aerials while
giving up 17 touchdown passes. The number of
interceptions is impressive given that the Demons sacked the quarterback only
Northwestern State allowed opponents to convert third downs
40 percent of the time.
As an aside, the Demon defense is very short. Only two
starters, defensive end Wade Williams and defensive tackle Lesley Deamer stand taller than six feet.
Defensive Line: The
strength of NSU’s defense will undoubtedly be up front where two starters
return. In addition to the aforementioned Williams and Deamer,
defensive end Keland Johnson and nose tackle Damon Medcafe comprise the starting lineup.
Wade Williams will be a third-year starter in 2012, but it
is the 290-pound Deamer who most bears watching. From
a down position, he recorded 41 tackles and six quarterback
hurries last season.
one starter returns to the linebacking unit, but he’s
probably the best player on the roster. Senior Derek Rose was a third-team All
American and first-team All Southland Conference performer in 2011. This season
he is on the Buck Buchanan Award watch list. The award goes to the most
outstanding defensive player in the FCS division.
A year ago Rose notched 91 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and
seven quarterback hurries. He will be one of the better linebackers Tech faces
Rose’s fellow starters at linebacker will be Tyler Smith and
deep against the Demons, who return both starters at safety, could be a
challenge. Bert and Jamaal White (no relation) are the veteran safeties.
Bert White tallied 55 tackles, while Jamaal, a preseason All
SLC pick, recorded 59 tackles, four interceptions and two forced fumbles last
Coach Bradley Dale Peveto will be
breaking in two new corners against the Red Raiders. Sophomores Imoan Claiborne and Rico Albert will receive their baptism
as starters in Jones/AT&T Stadium. Seth Doege and Tech’s deep, talented
receiving corps will go after this duo immediately to see what they’re made of.