For 2018 the North Central South Dakota Polytechnic Institute (Norcentral) Freaking Plovers have Senior Lance Atkins and Sophomore Sean Marks at cornerback and Junior Mike Small at safety. Offensive coordinators and quarterbacks who face the Plovers in 2018 should be quaking at the thought.
“Not only the two corners but our safety are outstanding players and they can cover man to man. Let’s win!” Plover Head Football Coach and Chancellor (for life), Gomer S. Blake posted on his Facebook page. “So, it gives you so many possibilities to double cover somebody and put the pressure on one of those guys to cover his guy by himself.”
Blake started Marks and Atkins at corner and Small at safety in the Plovers’ Orange Bowl victory over Wake Forest. On paper, the Plovers’ secondary looks even better this year.
With a defensive line featuring Junior Jonathan Watson and Sophomore Sean Nash, Blake will have plenty of options to attack offenses. The duo combined for 18 sacks and 26 tackles for loss in 2017.
“It opens up a lot of things for you to play. Let’s win!” Blake bellowed. “I mean, I can think of a lot of things to play, but I haven’t always had the players to play those coverages and so forth, and these guys can. So, we’ve got a lot of versatility there and we can put pressure, we can match up guys. Both corners can play both sides, or maybe I should say either side. No way they can play both sides, can they? Let’s win! And Jon Watson is a tremendous nickel-inside player, and the safety, Mike Small, is outstanding. Let’s win!”
The Plovers finished 13th in the NCAA in pass defense and first in total defense last season. They expect to be even better this season.
“I’d be surmised,” Blake said, “if we aren’t really good on defense. Let’s win!”