The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 27, 2013

Gorillas happy with defense after spring game

By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Pittsburg State defensive coordinator Dave Wiemers seemed pretty happy after the Gorillas wrapped up their Spring Game on Saturday.

For starters, he was glad to get out of the cold, rainy weather that had shown up for a majority of Pitt State’s spring workouts and scrimmages.

More importantly, he said he was feeling good about the shape of his defense.

“I think our spring has been pretty good, really,” Wiemers said after the White beat the Red 19-7 at Carnie Smith Stadium. “The thing we have is experience. It’s the thing we want more than anything. I’d take it over talent any time. And fortunately I think we have some talent and some experience.

“If all goes well, we should be able to hold up our end of the deal.”

The Gorillas saw plenty of reps from their backups on Saturday. Three-time All-American linebacker Nate Dreiling was among a handful of regulars who didn’t suit out.

That gave the backups, who Wiemers praised, a shot to make some noise in front of the Pitt State fans, who showed up in decent numbers despite the weather.

“We think our top 25 is deeper than it has been,” Wiemers said. “We feel good about our backups at every position. They’ve gotten a lot of reps and I think they feel like they can run on the field and contribute. I feel better about our depth than I have in a while.”

The same could be said on the offensive side.

Quarterback Anthony Abenoja, all-American receiver John Brown and linemen Cody Holland and Tyler Smith were among the inactives on offense, some with minor injuries and some simply playing it safe.

 “That enabled some other guys to get experience,” Pitt State offensive coordinator Steve Rampy said. “We think this is going to be the most experience, depth-wise, we’ve had in the last couple years. We feel good about that.”

Senior Solomon Watkins likely latched on to the starting running back job, wrapping up a solid spring by averaging 5.7 yards on six carries, including a 16-yard gain in the first quarter.

“One of our goals for the spring was to establish who that (starting) guy was and I think we did,” Rampy said. “Solomon is finally healthy. He hasn’t been healthy for over a year.”

Sophomore Jeff Seybold (5-foot-11, 208 pounds) and redshirt freshman Dre Holman (5-9, 209) will probably enter fall camp as the top backups.

“Obviously, you don’t play our conference with one (running back),” Rampy said. “We need all three of those guys to be efficient running backs, and we feel like they are. The other two guys (Seybold and Holman), while they were banged up most of the spring, I think they showed what they can do.”