PIGSKIN PREVIEW: Speed will dominate defense in 2014

Defense Two

Going into the 2013 season, one thing Mustang football had never been known for was its defense.

The Bronco football program had always been known for its high-octane offenses that lit up the scoreboard like a Christmas tree. The biggest problem Mustang had with all of those powerful offenses was its lack of defense.website commentary new.qxd

Many times during the mid-2000s, the Broncos would have to rely on their offense to win shootouts, and several games came down simply to who had the ball last.

With the departure of Ty Prestidge and entrance of Jeremy Dombek, that mentality changed 180 degrees. Prestidge brought Mark Yates to Mustang with him as the defensive coordinator. Dombek constantly refers to Yates as “the best high school defensive coordinator in the state of Oklahoma.”

Based on what Yates did with the Bronco defense in 2013 after having a short period of time to work with the players, it’s hard to argue with Dombek.

Yates brought in the 3-4 scheme on defense, changing the Broncos from what they used to run under the old regime, which was the 4-3. Yates said he believes the 3-4 is the best defensive scheme to play in today’s game because it allows you to do more things as a defense and it’s the best way to slow down the spread offense.

The Mustang defense was by no means perfect last year under its new defensive coordinator, but they were a much improved unit from what they had been in the past. Yates said having a full year to work with his players is making a big difference at this point.

“The knowledge base of our guys is really high compared to what it was a year ago,” he said. “We aren’t necessarily adding anything to our defense because the scheme will stay the same, but we are able to do a lot more as far as coverages and pressures go.”

Yates said they lost some senior leadership off last year’s defense, but he is excited about the returners he has coming back this season, and likes quite a few of the young and upcoming players on the defensive side of the football.

“In the back end at the safety position, we have seniors Zach Davis and Emilio Daugherty,” he said. “We are going to be counting on both of those guys to have big years for us this season. Juniors Kiante Miles and Jordan Greenspan will man the cornerback positions this year and they both started quite a few games a year ago.”

Yates said the linebackers will be a lot faster this year than they were last year with senior Cutter Smith and junior Cole Daniel leading the way in the middle of the defense. He said the defensive line was going to be young but full of potential as they head into the 2014 season.

Yates commented on the players’ summer work ethic and the expectations from the coaching staff.

“I think the one difference we are seeing this season compared to last year is the players know what we as coaches expect out of them every day they come to work,” he said. “They understand the expectation of this program now, so it’s easier for them to come in and do what they need to do in order to give themselves the best chance at being successful.”