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SOU Defense Coming Together as Spring Game Nears


ASHLAND – The Southern Oregon
defense has focused on filling holes and improving depth throughout spring
practice, and the coaching staff expects those improvements to show in Friday's
Spring Game and in the 2012 season.

Southern Oregon lost its top two
tacklers from last season to graduation, along with several other key players
from a 2011 squad that struggled at times. The Raider defense gave up 34.4
points per game last season, with opponents tallying at least 50 points four

With the final week of spring practice winding down to the annual
Red vs. Black Spring Game, defensive coordinator Matt Toblin believes the Raiders'
experience and talent will help push the defense forward in the second year
under head coach Craig Howard. The defense will have a
chance to show its improvements against the up-tempo Raider offense at 6 p.m. on
Friday at Raider Stadium.

“We're really excited about the defense this
year,” Toblin said. “We've made a lot of progress this spring. As we go,
competing against our offense obviously makes us better, and getting used to the
pace of play has been good.”

The Raider offense returns numerous key
players from the various skill positions, giving the offensive coaches the
chance to really push the tempo in practice as they look to speed up the pace in
2012. That experience will pay off for the SOU defense, Toblin

“It's been good for us to have to line up and think faster than
most defenses have ever had to think, because they're running the next play
before we can even get the call in at times,” Toblin said. “We've calmed down in
terms of dealing with tempo, and we've really started to execute. The new guys
have started to really fit in and meld into what we want to do.”

praised the leadership of a strong senior class, led by Kalii Robinson (Los Angeles,
Calif./Dorsey) and Juwuan Brown (Long Beach, Calif./Long
Beach Poly). He credited the seniors with leading “not only on and off the
field in terms of what they do, but helping everybody else kind of fit into the
program and set an example for what we expect.”

The secondary looks to be
much improved going into the Spring Game, with four returners leading the way.
Josh Leff (San Clemente, Calif./San
Clemente) and Dustin Fretwell (El Dorado Hills,
Calif./Oakridge) are set to start in the two cornerback slots, with
Heston Altenbach (Coquille,
Ore./Coquille) starting at free safety. Brandon Grissom (Medford, Ore./Eagle
Point) returns to the field after missing the 2011 season with a broken

“Getting Brandon back from a broken hand and getting him into the
defense, you can see the difference in terms of the physicality that he brings
to our secondary as our strong safety,” Toblin said.

Incoming players
will always play a major role in 2012 as the Raiders look to fill the holes left
by departing seniors. Toblin highlighted the work of Derek Goetting () and Mike Bibbie,
saying they've “done a great job of starting to learn what we do and what we ask
of guys.”

“A lot of newcomers have fit in and started to learn to play
defense our way,” Toblin said. “They have to learn how to play football the
Raider Way.”
Each week has brought the team closer to what fans can expect to
see Friday night, with the Sept. 1 season opener in Medford looming four months
down the road. Toblin has been encouraged by the team's development, but he
knows the defense is far from a finished product.

“In the end, we feel
like we've made progress every single day,” Toblin said. “Last scrimmage we felt
like we played pretty well, but we've still got some room for improvement.
Hopefully over the next few practices we'll continue to get better, and by the
time we hit the Spring Game we're clicking on all cylinders ready to go in the
offseason program.” SOU Defense Coming Together as Spring Game Nears

Tuesday, May 1 2012, 07:04 PM CDT

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Saturday's Games

( 1) Ohio State 34, Indiana 27

( 2) Michigan State 24, Purdue 21

(25) Florida 38, ( 3) Mississippi 10

( 4) TCU 50, Texas 7

( 5) Baylor 63, Texas Tech 35

(12) Clemson 24, ( 6) Notre Dame 22

Arizona State 38, ( 7) UCLA 23

(13) Alabama 38, ( 8) Georgia 10

( 9) LSU 44, Eastern Michigan 22

(11) Florida State 24, Wake Forest 16

(14) Texas A-and-M 30, (21) Mississippi State 17

(15) Oklahoma 44, (23) West Virginia 24

(16) Northwestern 27, Minnesota 0

(18) Stanford 55, Arizona 17

Iowa 10, (19) Wisconsin 6

(20) Oklahoma State 36, Kansas State 34

(22) Michigan 28, Maryland 0

(24) California 34, Washington State 28



Saturday's Games

Baltimore 9, N.Y. Yankees 2, 1st game

Kansas City 5, Minnesota 1

L.A. Angels 11, Texas 10

Tampa Bay 4, Toronto 3

Baltimore 4, N.Y. Yankees 3, 2nd game

Cleveland 2, Boston 0

Chicago White Sox 4, Detroit 3

Houston 6, Arizona 2

Oakland 7, Seattle 5, 13 innings

Sunday's Games

L.A. Angels (Richards 15-11) at Texas (Hamels 6-1), 3:05 p.m.

N.Y. Yankees (Pineda 12-9) at Baltimore (Tillman 10-11), 3:05 p.m.

Boston (Porcello 9-14) at Cleveland (Salazar 13-10), 3:10 p.m.

Detroit (Da.Norris 2-2) at Chicago White Sox (Montas 0-1), 3:10 p.m.

Houston (McCullers 6-7) at Arizona (Ray 5-12), 3:10 p.m.

Kansas City (Cueto 3-7) at Minnesota (Nolasco 5-1), 3:10 p.m.

Oakland (Bassitt 1-8) at Seattle (Nuno 1-4), 3:10 p.m.

Toronto (Buehrle 15-7) at Tampa Bay (M.Moore 2-4), 3:10 p.m.


Saturday's Games

Washington 3, N.Y. Mets 1, 1st game

San Francisco 3, Colorado 2

Miami 7, Philadelphia 6, 1st game

Cincinnati 3, Pittsburgh 1

Chicago Cubs 1, Milwaukee 0

Washington 2, N.Y. Mets 0, 2nd game

St. Louis at Atlanta, ppd., rain

Miami 5, Philadelphia 2, 2nd game

Houston 6, Arizona 2

L.A. Dodgers 2, San Diego 1

Sunday's Games

St. Louis (Lackey 13-9) at Atlanta (S.Miller 5-17), 1 p.m., 1st game

Cincinnati (Jos.Smith 0-3) at Pittsburgh (Happ 6-2), 3:05 p.m.

Colorado (Bergman 3-1) at San Francisco (M.Cain 2-4), 3:05 p.m.

Miami (Conley 4-1) at Philadelphia (D.Buchanan 2-9), 3:05 p.m.

Chicago Cubs (Haren 10-9) at Milwaukee (Jo.Lopez 1-0), 3:10 p.m.

Houston (McCullers 6-7) at Arizona (Ray 5-12), 3:10 p.m.

San Diego (Garces 0-0) at L.A. Dodgers (Kershaw 16-7), 3:10 p.m.

Washington (Roark 4-7) at N.Y. Mets (deGrom 14-8), 3:10 p.m.

St. Louis (Lynn 12-10) at Atlanta (Wisler 7-8), 4:30 p.m., 2nd game



No games scheduled

Sunday's Games

Sunday's Games

N.Y. Jets vs. Miami at London, 9:30 a.m.

Oakland at Chicago, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Giants at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

Carolina at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

Philadelphia at Washington, 1 p.m.

Houston at Atlanta, 1 p.m.

Kansas City at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

Cleveland at San Diego, 4:05 p.m.

Green Bay at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.

St. Louis at Arizona, 4:25 p.m.

Minnesota at Denver, 4:25 p.m.

Dallas at New Orleans, 8:30 p.m.

Open: New England, Tennessee

Monday's Game

Detroit at Seattle, 8:30 p.m.


Saturday's Games

Toronto FC 3, Philadelphia 1

New York 2, Columbus 1

Orlando City 2, Montreal 1

Chicago 3, New England 1

San Jose 1, Vancouver 1, tie

Sporting Kansas City 1, Portland 0

Sunday's Games

Houston at FC Dallas, 5 p.m.

Real Salt Lake at Colorado, 7 p.m.

Los Angeles at Seattle, 9:30 p.m.



No games scheduled

Sunday - Game 1

Indiana at Minnesota, 3 p.m.

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FNF: Grants Pass v Sheldon

FNF: Henley v Cascade Christian

FNF: Lost River v Crow

FNF: North Medford v Roseburg

FNF: North Valley v Sweet Home

Coach's Corner Sept. 19

FNFB Part 3

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FNFB 2/14: Coach's Corner with St. Mary's

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South Medford vs Thurston

Ashland vs Marist

Churchill vs Eagle Point

Phoenix vs Yreka

North Medford vs Grants Pass

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SOU Raiders achieve top 20 ranking in Learfield Sports Directors' Cup

Raider football will host five games

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Girls: Sprague vs. Grants Pass

Boys: Glencoe vs. North Medford

Boys: Gold Beach vs Lost River

Boys: Lakeview vs Cascade Christian

Girls: Klamath Union vs Phoenix

Boys: North Valley vs Hidden Valley

Girls: Anderson vs Yreka

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Girls: South Medford vs North Medford

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Raider Men Look to Lock Up Home Tourney Game

SOU will end regular season at home

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Lofstedt Earns Second Ad Rutschman Award at Oregon Sports Awards

Girls: South Medford vs Roseburg

Boys: Ashland vs Eagle Point

Girls: Eagle Point vs Ashland

Boys: Hidden Valley vs Phoenix

Girls: Hidden Valley vs Phoenix

Boys: Mazama vs Henley

Girls: Mazama vs Henley

Girls: Chiloquin vs St Mary's

Girls: Lost River vs Bonanza

Coaches Corner: Crater Comets

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SOU Track & Field Returns to Seattle for Husky Classic

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SOU Softball team will start season in Redding

Raiders Earn 22-17 Comeback Victory Over Menlo

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Road to San Francisco: 49ers teammates talk about LaMichael

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