NASHVILLE --- The defensive line was hit the hardest due to graduation with the departure of starters Jason Morrow, Terrence Summers and Marvin Maddox. Morrow posted an all-Ohio Valley Conference season with his play in the middle, making 21 stops, 5.0 for loss, 2.5 sacks, an interception and three blocked kicks. Summers posted 28 tackles, while Maddox had 23, 4.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery.
Jeremy Patterson and Justin Culpepper with experience to replace Morrow and Summers. Culpepper has played in 21 games over his first two seasons. Patterson earned two letters at the University of Wisconsin before playing 10 games in his junior season with the Tigers.
The depth to the line will be provided by 21 game veteran Dante’ Ferguson, Jr., redshirt freshman Khalil Jones and a host of transfers. Landon Brazile graduated from the University of Cincinnati and will close out his career with the Big Blue.
|DEFENSIVE LINE||HT||WT||YR||Gms Played||Tackles||Solos||TFL|
|Jeremiah Caine||6-4||275||R-So.||Coahoma CC||20||12||3.5|
|J.C. Goins III||6-0||310||R-Fr.||--||--||--||--|
Redshirt Sophomore Khalil Jones
- On having support system here in Nashville
“To have my support system at every game, it feels like I’m doing it for them. I’m playing football for my mom and brother. That’s all I have out here. Dealing with family, football and school is a tough task, but we have to get through it and get it done.”
- On transition from fall camp to classes
“The transition is calm. During football camp it’s consistent, like football this, meeting here, weights, running… it’s consistent. Now that school has started we have to transition to getting up for breakfast check, going to class, being productive in class, you know, paying attention and sitting in the front, focusing on what the topic is, taking notes and then studying those in study hall that night after practice.”
Junior Justin Culpepper
- On the defense
“We have great chemistry. We were all young last year, but we learned a lot from the seniors, and we have a great bond.”
-On how the team bonds
“Coaches are creating great team meetings. We go in there every night and get to learn everyone’s personalities.”
- On preparing for Bethune-Cookman
“Our main goal is to stay focused. The physicality is there. We just have to remain focused and do our jobs.”
Redshirt Junior Dante Ferguson, Jr.
- On preparations for Game One
“The only thing we can do from this point on is to keep working hard, keep practicing and keep preparing. Bethune-Cookman is our main focus right now, so everything we’ll do up until then is to improve our craft.”
- On the defense as a whole
“We’ve seen great spurts from the defense, especially the defensive line and the defensive backs, and the linebackers, too. The linebackers are starting to get a feel for the cause and the adjustments we have set up for the week. We’re confident about the defense.”
-On the defensive leadership
“We all hold each other accountable. There are 11 pieces to the puzzle, 11 interchangeable units to the machine. No one person holds another higher than the other. We all hold each other accountable from the starter to the bench player.”