One thing that has come up during Spring football practice is that the strength of Southern Oregon's defense is the men up front.
One thing that has come up during Spring football practice is that the strength of Southern Oregon's defense is exactly where coach Steve Helminiak wants it: closest to the ball.
"You can look at the defense the same way you look at the offense," Helminiak said. "The strength is up front. The returners are having a great Spring and it shows every day at practice."
The Raiders wrap up practice this week with the annual Spring Game Friday at 7 p.m. at Raider Stadium.
Seniors Will Watson, Dan Harvey and Courtney Robinson return to anchor the SOU defensive line. Watson had 39 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss and two sacks last year. Harvey finished with 27 tackles and two TFL's and Robinson led the group with 4.5 TFL's.
"The one thing we are missing up front is some depth," Helminiak said. "But we will take care of that with recruiting."
At linebacker, senior Kevin Harrell returns after leading the Raiders last year with 76 tackles.
The other two linebacker positions are up for grabs. Juniors Justin Akou and David Nutting will both compete for the Mike linebacker position and senior Kala Haasenritter, junior Sam Higgins, senior Isaac Hernandez and Sam Lathem are all in the mix at the outside linebacker spot.
The defensive backfield is another area the Raiders are looking to answer some questions about.
Senior Akeem Jackson has locked down one cornerback spot and senior Thomas Sandoval is slotted at Free Safety, but after that it's up for grabs.
At safety, Kyle Moll, Gary Boubon, J.T. Sorensen and Nate Best are all pushing for playing time.
Senior Mike Greenidge is leading the race for the other cornerback position.
"We are looking for a couple things Friday night," Helminiak said.
"We are looking for the guys that can play to step up in game situations. We also hope to get a little piece of mind by finding out about the guys at linebacker and safety."