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TCHS defense has been dominant in 2012


Northridge High School's Deondre Rogers (13) is tackled by Tuscaloosa County's Leon Tucker (26) and Tuscaloosa County's Ted Colburn (42) October 5, 2012 at Tuscaloosa County High School in Northport. (Photo by Jason Harless)


 

NORTHPORT | When teams bring schemes that force opponents to manipulate what they do and what their players are comfortable with, normally the balance of the game is tilted in their favor from the first possession.

Tuscaloosa County High School’s defense has worked through it, adapting its defensive scheme week-by-week to produce four shutouts in six games and allow only five points per game.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I guess I’ve always had the reputation, or M-O, of being a guy that likes to stunt and blitz and that kind of thing,” TCHS defensive coordinator Jay Todd said.

“I like to make things happen.”

Todd said that the Wildcats have been more conservative this season.

“A lot of the teams we’ve played so far, we just haven’t been comfortable being able to stunt and things like that because of the schemes they run,” he said. “They kind of invite that. If they catch you in that kind of situation, they can bust it out on you.”

The talent and coaching the Wildcats have on the defensive side of the ball make the adjustment easier, and can even eradicate the adjustment altogether.

“It just fits what we need to do to be successful,” head coach Lee Gibson said. “We’re able to get the pressure without doing the stunts and other things. When the kids do what the coaches say to do, it’s not an adjustment.

“It’s a credit to how well they’ve prepared and how they’re getting coached up. It’s a great group of athletes.”

The Wildcats have had to make adjustments to the depth chart, especially after defensive lineman Dalyn Patton’s injury. Patton was suffering from nerve damage in his shoulder that limited him to only one half of action. Now, Patton is nursing a dislocated kneecap.

“That put us in a bind immediately as far as depth,” Todd said.

The Wildcats got great play from a sophomore that changed the complexity of the defense.

“We’ve had a young man by the name of Darius Ellis, he’s come in to play defensive end so we could move a senior (Hunter Jenkins) down inside where Dalyn plays a lot,” Todd said. “If it wasn’t for Darius coming in, we might not have been able to make that move.”

While breaking in a new defensive end, TCHS has turned to middle linebacker Ted Colburn for leadership.

“He’s kind of our quarterback of the front seven” Todd said. “He missed the Jackson-Olin game with an ankle injury and you could really tell a difference without him on the field because of his experience. He’s a three-year starter.”

Todd also pointed out Lucas Webb, another senior, as the leader of the secondary.

Even with four shutouts in six games, the coaching staff knows the defense can play better.

“I think that’s true for our entire team,” Gibson said. “The defense has bought into it. You’re either getting better or getting worse every time we go to practice.

It may be something small, but there’s always something to improve on.

“The sky’s the limit for what these kids can do if they continue to work hard and stay humble and do what the coaches tell them to do.”