South Dakota State Secondary Adjustment On The Go.
BROOKINGS, SD – Although there have been some moving parts, the South Dakota State High School has still been successful as they have played a significant role in a defense that ranks in the top 15 nationally in scoring.
A year ago, the SDSU high school was part of a defense that gave up just 15 points per game and seven touchdown passes all season.
“I see many flashes of greatness. I think we are building after last season, we are improving a bit on what we lacked last season. I think we are a more physical group, ”said SDSU senior safety Michael Griffin II.
The scheme remains the same, but the staff is a little different. 6’1,200 pound junior Isaiah Stalbird has made the permanent change from safety to linebacker SAM.
“When you’re learning a position on the back end, you’re really learning what’s going on in front of you at the same time, and we had a need at the end of the year that he could fill and he did a great job with that,” said the SDSU Co-Defensive Coordinator Brian Bergstrom.
But more adjustments would come. Senior star cornerback Don Gardner would suffer a serious injury in Week 3 against Indiana State.
“He really played hurt at the end of the half. They asked him if he was okay and he said ‘I’m okay, you know how competitive Don is, he won’t come out of the closet. He has to break some of the bone, ”said senior cornerback Dyshawn Gales.
With Gardner gone for an extended period of time, Wales and Malik Lofton have seen their roles increase.
“Don is still a great leader for the group, but when they’re on the field they’ve stepped up like that and Dalys Beanum and Steven Arrell are two guys who are ‘up and coming’ who have seen their role rise. But ultimately the whole group has stepped forward, what must happen, ”Bergstrom said.
And they have done it under the guidance of Michael Griffin II.
“Griff is an amazing person first and foremost. And it’s fun to watch him and be close to him as a leader, and just his maturity, and when you combine that with great instincts and soccer skills and a pretty special genetic ability. Just “physical,” it’s special, “Bergstrom said.
SDSU will look to return to the win column this Saturday when they visit western Illinois. The start is scheduled for noon.
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