Analyzing McNeese State: Defense

Posted: August 28, 2013 in Football

Coach Taggart will be facing off against a familiar face in Coach Lance Guidry, the defensive coordinator of McNeese State.  Guidry was Taggart’s defensive coordinator last season at Western Kentucky and coached their bowl game after Taggart took the job at USF.  Taggart will know some of his schemes, but Guidry will know Taggart’s offense, setting up for an interesting little battle between the two sides.

McNeese State runs a fairly unique defense, utilizing 5 defensive backs and 2 linebackers in their base formation.  Now with that said, the extra safety can easily step up in the box and line up like a linebacker.  Let’s dig through their depth chart and see what the USF offense will face in the season opener.



Guy Morton – Senior – 6′ 188 lbs. / Shea Nutt – Redshirt freshman – 6’2″ 175 lbs.

Aaron Sam – Junior – 5’9″ 176 lbs. / Jalen James – Freshman – 5’10” 175 lbs.

Morton is the most experienced cornerback the Cowboys have.  He had a total of 57 tackles last season, including 3 sacks, and had 3 interceptions.  Nutt, who had a redshirt last season, has no career stats. Aaron Sam, the other starting corner, had 26 tackles (1 sack) and 1 interception last season and had 8 pass break-ups, showing his skills.  His backup, James, is a freshman.


Brent Spikes – Sophomore – 6’1″ 190 lbs. / Gabe Hamner – Sophomore – 6′ 185 lbs.

Terence Cahee – Senior – 5’9″ 190 lbs. / Steele Merritt – Sophomore – 6’2″ 195 lbs.

Ryan Branson – Senior – 6’1″ 175 lbs. / Livingston Hamilton – Sophomore – 5’10” 184 lbs.

Spikes, the starting back safety, is the one that is the most likely to come up in the box.  He had 16 tackles, including 1 TFL last season.  His back-up, Hamner, had 31 tackles (3.5 TFL) and will rotate in a lot.   At the weakside safety (plays more to the weakside, duh) is the Cowboys big time playmaker, Terence Cahee.  Cahee had 92 tackles last season, 4 TFL, 1 INT, and broke up 12 passes.  He is their big time player in the backfield and will be on every play it seems.  His back-up, Merritt, totaled just 3 tackles, so he won’t see a lot of playing time.  Branson, the starter at free safety, had 44 tackles, 3 INTs, and 7 pass breakups, adding another ballhawk to the Cowboy secondary.  Hamilton, his back-up, had 7 tackles last season.


Hayden Dobbs – Senior – 6′ 210 lbs./ Corey Middleton – Junior – 6′ 210 lbs.

Deonte Thompson – Junior – 6’2 219 lbs. / Bo Brown – Sophomore – 6’1″ 210 lbs.

As mentioned before, the Cowboys typically only go with 2 linebackers in their base formation, relying on a safety to come up and play inside the tackles and help in then game.  Hayden Dobbs had 49 tackles last season, with 4 TFL and 1 INT while Middleton, the back-up, had 12 total tackles.  The big playmaker is Deonte Thompson, who had 52 tackles and 5 TFL in the middle of the defense (his back-up Bo Brown did not record a stat last season).  I wouldn’t expect to see these linebackers racing down the field to handle pass coverage, instead they will sit up in the box and attempt to slow the run game down and make sure there are no quick underneath passes in their area.

Defensive line

DE – Chris Loveless – Senior – 6’5″ 225 lbs. / Cameron Smith – Junior – 6’3″ 224 lbs.

DE – Everett Ellfsen – Junior – 6’3″ 230 lbs. / Danyel Hunter – Junior – 6’3″ 235 lbs.

DT – Michael Ware – Junior – 6’1″ 267 lbs. / Krishon Seastrunk – Sophomore – 6’2″ 253 lbs.

DT – Kevin Dorn – Junior – 5’10” 246 lbs. / Sean Brown – Junior 6’1″ 275 lbs.

Starting at defensive end, Chris Loveless had 18 tackles last season, including 2.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks.  His back-up, Cameron Smith, had 5 tackles (1.5 TFL).  At the other end position is Everett Ellefsen who had 43 tackles, 10 TFL and 3 sacks last year, becoming their top pass rusher off the edge.  His back-up, Danyel Hunter, had just 12 tackles (1 TFL) as a reserve.  At defensive tackle, Michael Ware had 19 tackles, including 2.5 TFL (1 sack).  Krishon Seastrunk had just one sack as a reserve.  The big playmaker is Kevin Dorn.  Despite his small size, he recorded 33 tackles with 6 TFL and 3 sacks last season.  Sean Brown recorded 2 tackles as a reserve last season.  The defensive front is fairly solid and has a lot of good numbers coming back from 2012.  Another key to remember is that all 4 linemen are returning for the Cowboys, posing an early season threat for the Bulls offensive line.


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