New-Look Longview Defense Impresses in Lobo Spring Football Game
LONGVIEW -- After struggling during the early portions of spring football practice, Longview's defense finished spring drills with a bang.
The first-team Lobo defense, frequently running its new 3-4 "Wolf" front, held the first-team offense to 10 points and 179 yards on 39 plays in Friday's spring football game. The first-team defense also got an interception from 2014 cornerback Jhavaurian Moore.
"They swarmed to the ball and didn't give up many big plays and forced several three-and-outs," said veteran head coach John King. "We had some opportunities. We had some missed throws and some miscommunications couple times on the offensive side, but I thought it was a good scrimmage. Nobody got hurt."
Longview typically bases from the 4-2-5 look and will continue to use the four-man front at times, but the 3-4 look makes the Lobos more versatile, especially against varying offensive schemes.
"It's no doubt it's probably our best personnel package for people we're gonna play down the road," said King of the 3-4 defense. "I feel good about it vs. the spread as well as power running teams. It's a good changeup for us to have. I still like the four-man line based out of the 4-2-5. It's a good defense to run vs. both, too. It gives us a good mix."
One player to keep an eye on this fall is senior-to-be Deionte Wall, who might follow in the footsteps of 5-foot-7, 155-pound safety Corey Bartley as the Lobos' next diminutive playmaker.
The 5-foot-6, 158-pound Wall was recently moved to linebacker in Longview's 3-4 scheme and played well there Friday, along with the usual suspects who were key defenders in 2012: TCU-bound defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson, defensive end Derodrick Alexander, and safeties Stephan Maxey and Travin Howard.
Wall also made a big impact with the second-team offense, carrying twice for 97 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown run that saw him bounce a play outside right tackle and down the sideline. His 27-yard run was perhaps even more impressive as he eluded several defenders before reversing field for a big gain.
Junior-to-be running back JaMycal Hasty started with classmate quarterback Dezmond Chumley for the first-team offense. Hasty carried six times for 25 yards and caught three passes for 48 yard, including a 28-yard touchdown reception from reserve 2016 quarterback Cameron Castleberry on the final play of the varsity scrimmage. Hasty lined up in the slot on the play.
Hasty and Wall join 2014 tailback L'Darrius Peterson (two carries, nine yards) to give King three promising backfield options. Jeremy Powell, Marquies Hunter, Quatorian Jacobs, and Dezmein Dennis also got multiple carries Friday.
"I feel good about all three of them. If Petey and JaMycal were a little more patient they would've had some better runs," King said. "I thought they were trying to hit the home run a little bit and excite the crowd, but they can do it. You're gonna have to take the good with the bad there. I think understanding down-and-distance situations and knowing what we need to get to move the sticks, I think we get in a game situation they'll be ready to do what we ask them to do. They knew it was gonna be limited touches today and they were trying to make the best out of every time they touched it.
"No doubt Deionte is a great running back and he's doing pretty dang good at linebacker, too. He possibly could play both ways."
Longview's offensive line was clearly larger than in past seasons. The Lobos feature players such as 2015 left tackle Broderick Washington (6-2, 285) and 2014 right tackle Kenny Andrews (6-2, 261) and average 287.7 pounds per play from guard to guard.
King, a former college offensive lineman at Northwestern State, has been encouraged by what he's seen during spring drills from the offensive line.
"Bigger ain't always better, but I feel like with about seven or eight guys up front, I feel real confident in those guys," he said. "They've done a great job all spring. They're tough kids. I think that our strength and conditioning program has definitely paid off for us in the aspect of the development of these linemen."
Chumley completed 10 of 22 passes for 109 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, while running three times for 18 yards. The 6-foot, 188-pound 2015 quarterback was pressed into starting duties most of last season after a season-ending injury to ULM signee Bivins Caraway in the season's first game.
Chumley's touchdown strike to heavily recruited 6-foot-4 receiver Dorian Leonard, who will be a senior, covered 10 yards. Leonard led all receivers with four grabs for 45 yards, while Stephon Anthony had three catches for 26 yards.
The second-team defense allowed a 10-play, 70-yard touchdown drive capped by Hunter's five-yard touchdown run on the second-team offense's first possession, but got two interceptions from 2015 cornerback Jakoryian Walker and a fumble recovery from 2015 defensive lineman Jaylon Mack. The second-team defense forced four turnovers.
"The second-team defense looked better today than they've been looking in the spring team situations," King said.