Secondary finds strength in numbers

Through five football games this season, the Lions’ defensive backfield has shown significant improvement.
The Lions stand at the number two spot in the conference in pass defense and No. 24 in the nation, according to
“Coming into the season, I thought we had the talent to be successful back there, and I think we have been,” said head coach Ron Roberts. “We’ve made some vast improvements. As a football team, we’re not where we want to be, but look at where we came from. I think the improvements are huge.”
The Lions finished last season ranked 116th in the country in total defense and sixth in the Southland Conference in pass defense. This season the defense has taken strides in the right direction and the secondary has had much to do with that.
“We’ve made some big steps on defense across the board,” said Roberts. “I give credit to the coaches. They’ve done a great job.”
Defensive Coordinator Pete Golding plays eight players in his scheme, which seems to be working as the Lions have generated six interceptions in five weeks. The Lions secondary showed flashes last week as they picked off Lamar’s Ryan Mossakowski four times.
“Two things we’ve done, we’ve been able to pressure the quarterback and cover some guys back there,” said Roberts. “I think we’ve got good players back there and a great secondary coach.”
The Lions secondary is led by preseason All-American cornerback Robert Alford who has two interceptions and five pass breakups this season. His contributions have been significant as he caught the game winning interception versus McNeese State and duplicated the same the following week in the win over Lamar. His play has seemed to spark the Lions defense and gain them more confidence.
“He’s a great player,” said Roberts about Alford. “Athletically, there’s no question. I think he’s gotten so much better in the mental part of his game and learning, and that’s what we need from our big players.”
Overall, Roberts likes his team’s aggressive style of play and knows that his secondary will be key down the stretch for the defense.
“We play pretty aggressive coverage, trying to limit the quick drops and releases,” said Roberts. “It’s going to be key in this back half of the season that we continue to improve and stay aggressive, and I think we will do that.”