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Southeast Missouri State Redhawks Defensive Preview

SPOILER: SEMO isn’t magically 10,000 times better on defense than offense

NCAA Football: SE Missouri State at Memphis
Apparently SEMO does not play football around cameras of any kind, so here’s another picture of head coach Tom Matukewicz
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Redhawks have given up at least 26 points in each of their games played this year, both of which were against FCS opponents. Yikes. Missouri, as we know, definitely has the firepower to put up 70, but is that necessary? No. They need to keep the players healthy and not showcase the deeper cuts of the playbook since South Carolina, a much tougher opponent, is next week. This means we probably won’t hit that 70 benchmark.


Defensive Tackle

Clarence Thornton – SR: 5 tackles/1 TFL

Nose Tackle

Daterraion Richardson – JR: 2 tackles

Defensive Tackle

Josh Price – SR: 5 tackles

Outside Linebacker

Justin Swift – SR: 16 tackles/2.5 TFLs/1 PD

Middle (MIKE) Linebacker

Zach Hall – SR: 29 tackles/2.5 TFLs/1 sack

Weakside (WILL) Linebacker

Devin Alexander – R-SR: 12 tackles/2 TFLs/1 sack

Outside Linebacker

Omardrick Douglas – JR: 6 tackles/0.5 TFLs/

The matchup: the Tiger ground game vs. the SEMO 3-4

You can expect a healthy heaping of the run game as Missouri builds a quick lead and then goes into a shell to get the game over with. Whether that’s with the 1s or the 2s, I don’t rightly care, but the Redhawk front seven operates out of a base 3-4 alignment (3 defensive linemen, 4 linebackers). While Coach Bussen would have a better idea of how many times the Missouri offense will go up against that type of defense, it’s always nice to get practice against different looks. MIKE linebacker Zach Hall already has 29 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and a sack in two games, so erasing him from play will be a win, especially considering the other linebackers have combined for fewer tackles than that. It’ll be nice to see some explosive plays from both Rountree and Badie early, and the offensive line should be able to get lots of line yards to their credit against an over-matched defensive line.


Al Young – SR: 3 tackles/1 PD

Free Safety

Bydarrius Knighten – JR: 16 tackles

Strong Safety

Marcus Lucas – JR: 5 tackles/1 PD/1 INT


D.J. Freeman – R-SR: 4 tackles/1 TFL/1 PD

The matchup: Passing targets vs. time

No, not in a, “We’re all just dying slowly anyway, man... the clock is like... always counting down to our eventual demise, ya know... what are you going to do about it?????” kind of way. I mean time, as in, “The first-string will be out there for 4 possessions and there’s only so many times we’re throwing the ball” kind of way. If Kelly Bryant throws more than 20 passes, I’ll be shocked, so who does he go to? Does he want more reps with the promising Kam Scott? Does he pad Albert O’s touchdown total? Does he give JJ or Nance some YAC opportunities with tunnel screens? Or maybe he just does what he’s coached to do and make his progressions like normal.

...Yes, I am stretching for matchups against an FCS team. Can you blame me?


Kendrick Tiller – JR: 2-2 FGs (long of 55)


Jake Reynolds – JR: 12 punts/518 yards/43.2 avg

Kick Returner

Al Young – SR: 2 returns/44 yards

Punt Returner

Al Young – SR: 2 returns/37 yards

The matchup: Special teams vs. improvement

I mentioned after the Wyoming game that I was pleased with the special teams performance. West Virginia’s 39-yard return against the only kick McCann didn’t knock into the end zone shook that a little bit. I’d like to see a kick return and a punt return in this game just to get the special teams some practice against live bodies. I’m still not confident that everything has been fixed and really want them to get as many positive reps as possible for when the SEC slate comes up.