Bison defense has high expectations
Football defense looks to repeat national champion success
Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 15:08
Defense wins championships. The old sports cliché was no more evident than last year when the NDSU football team went on a historic run to their first Division I national championship.
The nation took notice as the Bison defense conquered every obstacle they faced in their playoff run. Whether it was the running game of James Madison, Lehigh’s aerial attack, the triple option attack from Georgia Southern or the top ranked offense of Sam Houston State in the championship game, NDSU shut it down.
This year, with all defensive starters having game time experience, the Bison unit may very well be looked upon as the best in the nation.
Although cornerback Marcus Williams is the only All-American on the squad, there are multiple players who are worthy of that honor. Williams is a part of a highly touted secondary that teams may have a difficult time passing against. On the other side of Williams is cornerback Brendin Pierre, who saw playing time two years ago but was unable to play on last year’s championship team due to academics. Colton Heagle, a hard-hitting strong safety, has been listed on a few preseason All-American polls and is almost a fourth linebacker on the field for the Herd.
That is a definite luxury to have because the talent is there for the Bison linebackers, but the depth is not. Grant Olson looks to man the middle for NDSU. A huge recruit for the Bison, Olson finally has the chance to hit the field after backing up four-year starter Preston Evans for the previous two years. Travis Beck and Carlton Littlejohn are young, but highly athletic outside backers with a perfect combination of speed and physicality.
This linebacking corps will have plenty of help to stop the run game from a scary good defensive line. Leevon Perry has a chance to do huge things at his defensive tackle position. Listed at 280 pounds, the former high school quarterback has freakish athletic ability. At that end, NDSU has two playmaking players in Kyle Emanuel and Cole Jirik who will provide a solid pass rush.
The Bison defense, if they remain healthy, should have no problem curbing any offensive attack that comes their way each Saturday. High expectations are lingering, but this unit has the experience and skill to not disappoint. The saying will always stay the same in sports: defense wins championships. NDSU is looking to prove that once again.