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DailyTidings.com
  • COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SOU PREVIEW

    SOU looks for repeat performance

    Raiders known for offense, but defense may be key to team's Frontier Conference title hopes
  • They want to be fast-fast. They want to make spectacular, highlight-worthy plays. They want to keep their opponents on edge, never knowing what to expect. And they want to get on and off the field as quickly as possible, with a goal of six plays or less.
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    • Raiders glance
      HEAD COACH
      Craig Howard
      (Third year, 14-8)
      Southern Oregon and its no-huddle spread offense put on a record-shattering show last season before suffering a national quarterfinal loss in ove...
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      HEAD COACH

      Craig Howard

      (Third year, 14-8)

      Southern Oregon and its no-huddle spread offense put on a record-shattering show last season before suffering a national quarterfinal loss in overtime to Morningside. The Raiders will look to reload with a new crop of receivers and a high-pressure defense.

      general information

      ASSISTANTS: Ken Fasnacht (offensive coordinator), Berk Brown (defensive coordinator), Nathan Chin (defensive backs), Chris Fisk (offensive line), Greg Stewart (running backs), Matt Adkins (receivers), Garrett Butler (offensive line), Nick Leupold (defensive backs), Jim Nagel (tight ends), Josh Winfield (linebackers), Wade Kittle (offensive line), Mike Seifert (linebackers), Nate Svedin (defensive line).

      2012 LEAGUE RECORD: 8-2 (first, Frontier Conference).

      2010 OVERALL RECORD: 9-3.

      PREDICTED FINISH THIS YEAR: Third.

      2012 results

      SOU Opponents

      54 Montana Western 21

      30 Rocky Mountain 52

      45 Dickinson State 7

      45 Montana Tech 48

      68 Eastern Oregon 22

      65 MSU-Northern 34

      76 Montana Western 29

      52 Carroll 49

      63 Eastern Oregon 35

      46 Montana Tech 28

      45 St. Ambrose 28

      44 Morningside 47

      returning starters

      OFFENSE (6): Quarterback Austin Dodge (6-3, 210, jr.), tackle Drew Gibson (6-5, 282, jr.), tackle Jake Sullivan (6-3, 320, sr.), center Max Proudfit (6-2, 290, so.), tight end Clay Sierra (6-6, 250, so.), kicker Colin Amsler (6-1, 165, sr.).

      DEFENSE (6): Linebacker Daniel Breux (6-3, 240, jr), linebacker Heston Altenbach (6-2, 202, jr.), cornerback Josh Leff (5-9, 190, sr.), safety Dustin Fretwell (5-9, 186, jr.), safety Monti Wilson (6-0, 196, so.), punter Amsler.

      other notables

      Running back Zach Marshall (5-9, 173, so.), running back Melvin Mason (5-10, 205, fr.), receiver Matt Retzlaff (5-11, 180, fr.), receiver Teran Togia (6-1, 193, so.), receiver Dylan Young (6-3, 195, jr.), receiver Sean McShane (5-11, 180, so.), cornerback Randy Tyler (5-11, 197, sr.), linebacker Laurence Calcagno (5-11, 210, sr.), linebacker Mylz Blake (5-10, 223, fr.), defensive lineman Michael Bibbee (6-3, 240, so.), defensive lineman Nick Kurland (6-0, 250, sr.).

      2013 schedule

      Aug. 31 ROCKY MOUNTAIN, 1 p.m.

      Sept. 7 at Montana Western, noon

      Sept. 14 at Sacramento State, 6:05 p.m.

      Sept. 21 at Eastern Oregon, 1 p.m.

      Sept. 28 at Dickinson State, noon

      Oct. 5 MONTANA TECH, 1 p.m.

      Oct. 19 MONTANA ST.-NORTHERN, 1 p.m.

      Oct. 26 MONTANA-WESTERN, 1 p.m.

      Nov. 2 at Carroll, 11 a.m.

      Nov. 9 EASTERN OREGON, 1 p.m.

      Nov. 16 at Montana Tech, 11 a.m.
  • They want to be super-duper fast. They want to make spectacular, highlight-worthy plays. They want to keep their opponents on edge, never knowing what to expect. And they want to get on and off the field as quickly as possible, with a goal of six plays or less.
    And while those descriptions may also apply to that highly touted group on the other side of the ball, ultimately it's the Southern Oregon defense and its own quick-strike approach that may determine the Raiders' fate in 2013.
    "Our guys on the defensive side of the football have a chip on their shoulder," SOU defensive coordinator Berk Brown said, "because one, this is considered an offensive school. And two, we dropped nine spots in the national poll and (two) spots in our conference poll and our guys are a little bit angry about it. And that's the best type of defense to coach — an angry defense."
    The 14th-ranked Raiders will get their first chance to take out that anger on an opponent Saturday, when Rocky Mountain (1-0) pays a visit to Grants Pass' Mel Ingram Field for what is expected to be a Frontier Conference shootout. The two teams combined for 82 points (52-30, Rocky Mountain) and a mind-boggling 1,202 yards in their last meeting, SOU's only non-overtime loss of 2012. The second annual Kickoff Classic kicks off at 1 p.m.
    Nine months removed from a Frontier Conference championship and a trip to the NAIA national quarterfinals the Raiders are looking to take the next step with a roster that's identical in key positions but retooled in others. Back is Frontier Conference offensive player of the year Austin Dodge (6-foot-3, 210 pounds), the quarterback who shattered SOU single-season records while passing for an NAIA-best 5,075 yards and 42 touchdowns as a sophomore.
    The cannon-armed Dodge will drop back behind three of the five offensive linemen — tackles Drew Gibson (6-5, 282) and Jake Sullivan (6-3, 320) and guard-turned-center Max Proudfit (6-2, 290) — who started SOU's final game of 2012, but will have an entirely new crew of four starting receivers from which to chose from. That doesn't, however, take into account the return of tight end Clay Sierra, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound behemoth who's expected to become a bigger part of the Raiders' offense this year after making 24 catches for 329 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman.
    Former South Medford star Matt Retzlaff (5-11, 180) will start in the slot and has received rave reviews for his performance in fall camp, while Teran Togia (6-1, 193) will man the other slot and Dylan Young (6-3, 195) and Sean McShane (5-11, 180) split out wide. Can that group possibly match the gaudy numbers put up by SOU last season, when the Raiders averaged 449 yards per game through the air and 14 yards per catch? Doubtful, but for a team that lost two 1,500-yard receivers in Cole McKenzie and Patrick Donahue to graduation, the Raiders don't sound too concerned about their ability to air it out.
    "Obviously, losing the two guys on the outside, people think we're going to be missing that," SOU offensive coordinator Ken Fasnacht said, "but really, we're going to be very similar. We're still going to take our shots vertically, we're still going to force the outside issue and try to create one on one matchups and we're still going to have some fun trying to get the ball in space to athletes and let them play football."
    Part of Fasnacht's confidence may stem from Dodge's grasp of SOU's no-huddle spread offense, and part of it may come from SOU's revamped backfield. Not that the Raiders struggled to run the ball last season — Manny Barragan, who graduated, did rush for 1,341 yards and 13 touchdowns — but sophomore Zach Marshall (5-9, 173) and redshirt freshman Melvin Mason (5-10, 205), plus true freshman Sean Tow (5-6, 175) will combine to give the Raiders more breakaway speed at running back than they had a year ago.
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