2008 Livingstone Football: The defense

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 28, 2008

By Nick Bowton
Livingstone coach Lamonte Massie expects his defense to be better this season for one simple reason: It’s bigger.
The Blue Bears gave up 34 rushing touchdowns in 10 games last season and had to rely heavily on blitzes because they were undersized along the defensive line. One year and a new weight room later, Livingstone will feature a front four that Massie said will be “way better, a lot more athletic” than in 2007.
Take, for instance, defensive tackle Warren Dent. He might not be as talented as his uncle, former Chicago Bears great Richard Dent, but Warren Dent at least gives the Blue Bears a 6-foot-5, 300-pound presence to stop the run.
Ryan Reese returns on the defensive line, and Massie said redshirt freshman Michael Haygood from Dudley High is “another good run-stopper.”
As much as Massie expects the defensive line to be improved, he said Livingstone’s strength defensively will be the secondary.
“Those defensive backs we have are a lot more athletic,” he said. “They can play, can run and can cover.”
They’re young too.
Livingstone will play 6-2 freshman Stanford Dorsey at free safety, and freshman Jerrell Gaynor will play one of the cornerback spots.
“Those are two freshmen that I’ve been really, pleasantly surprised by their athletic ability and football IQ,” Massie said. “Just their ability to understand what we’re doing and understand things from a schematic standpoint.”
Joining Dorsey and Gaynor in the secondary will be a pair of returning players in William Massey at corner and Alkeem Deloatch at strong safety. Deloatch played linebacker last season.
Massey’s cousin, Robert Massey, joins the Blue Bears as a linebacker this season and will get a chance to play against his father, former Livingstone coach Robert Massey, when the Blue Bears play Shaw.
By the time that game comes around in late October, Massie should know if his new-look defense is actually better than the one that gave up 43 points per game last season.
“I think our defense is going to be a lot more athletic,” Massie said. “They are way faster than they were in the past. We had a scrimmage the other day, and they really flew to the ball well.
“Young, aggressive, attack-oriented type of guys.”