/playoffs/2010/bthl-defensive-secrets

A dream defensive season

More news about: Bethel

By Brian Hunsicker
For D3sports.com

Jason Hofmeyer
Jason Hofmeyer is only one piece of a Bethel defense that held St. Thomas to under 300 yards rushing in their two meetings this season, nearly 100 yards below their average the rest of the year.
Photo by Scott Pierson, d3photography.com

There must be a secret to Bethel’s defensive success. There simply must be. How else to explain a unit that ranks ninth nationally in rushing defense — yet has no lineman over 240 pounds? How else to explain the sustained success this season in total defense and scoring defense?

The secret is this: It’s not just one secret.

Instead, the combination of recruiting, coaching, chemistry and execution have come together to give the Royals a dream defensive season, as well as a trip to Mount Union in the national semifinals.

The process of building the Royals’ defense — indeed, it is a process — began years ago when the current crop of upperclassmen was recruited.

Bethel defensive coordinator Jimmy Miller said that his recruiting philosophy isn’t to identify and bring in a certain number of defensive linemen or linebackers or defensive backs. Instead, they’re looking for football players; once they’re enrolled, they’ll find a position. And sometimes long after they’re enrolled, they still might find a new home.

Junior Jason Hofmeyer was a tight end for his first two seasons with Bethel. But he moved to defensive end this season, a move which paid off for the Royals: Hofmeyer, the younger brother of former Bethel player Joey Hofmeyer, has three sacks and 29.5 tackles this season.

“We never dreamt [he would be a standout],” Miller said. “We fell into him.”

It certainly helps if the recruits come blessed with speed; that’s the hallmark of the 2010 Bethel defense. Such a philosophy originated with the University of Miami in the 1990s; more recently, TCU has capitalized on it. Bethel coach Steve Johnson said that opposing tackles should expect that if a Royal defensive lineman gets past them, they’ll likely be faster than the quarterback.

“We don’t send fat guys after the quarterback,” Johnson said.

With a lineup coalesced, Miller and his defensive assistants — linebackers coach Mike Fregeau and defensive assistant Rick Meyer — formulate the game plan. The three have been together for most of the decade; Miller has 10 years in as coordinator and Fregeau is in his 12th season as a Bethel assistant. Meyer was an all-MIAC defensive end for the Royals in 2000 and 2001 before becoming a coach there. He left for two years as a defensive coordinator at a nearby high school and is now in his sixth season back at Bethel.

Their overall goal: Stop the opponent’s run game cold. Doing so stymies the opposition and leaves them with a “disconcerting” feeling, Miller said. Just as important is the day-to-day work: Johnson marveled at hearing one of his defensive coaches remark that a particular player was a visual learner.

“He’s not just throwing the lesson plan down,” Johnson said. “He knows his guys well enough to understand how they learn.”

The familiarity of working with each other, and with the Royals’ defensive schemes and philosophy, has also been a key component of the defense’s success.

Another component: This year’s group has been particularly tight-knit. Miller couldn’t remember an instance of any of his players complaining about stats, and Johnson also raved about the unit’s cohesiveness and how they seem to genuinely enjoy being around one another.

For all of that work, though, what matters are the results on the field. And Johnson refers back to the three guiding words of the program: fast, obedient, disciplined. That drills down into individual technique; for instance, Johnson said, when a slant is called, the defensive line knows where it has to go. Just as importantly, each member knows they have to go full throttle to their assignment.

And who can argue with the results? The Royals have earned lofty rankings not just in rush defense but also in total defense (fourth nationally), scoring defense (fourth) and pass efficiency defense (29th of 236).

“We may not have the best players, but every player we have can do what we ask,” Johnson said. “Over time [the players] become confident in the coaches. You don’t worry too much about your 40 time — you become part of the machine.”

By Brian Hunsicker
For D3sports.com

There must be a secret to Bethel’s defensive success. There simply must be. How else to explain a unit that ranks ninth nationally in rushing defense — yet has no lineman over 240 pounds? How else to explain the sustained success this season in total defense and scoring defense?

The secret is this: It’s not just one secret.

Instead, the combination of recruiting, coaching, chemistry and execution have come together to give the Royals a dream defensive season, as well as a trip to Mount Union in the national semifinals.

The process of building the Royals’ defense — indeed, it is a process — began years ago when the current crop of upperclassmen was recruited.

Bethel defensive coordinator Jimmy Miller said that his recruiting philosophy isn’t to identify and bring in a certain number of defensive linemen or linebackers or defensive backs. Instead, they’re looking for football players; once they’re enrolled, they’ll find a position. And sometimes long after they’re enrolled, they still might find a new home.

Junior Jason Hofmeyer was a tight end for his first two seasons with Bethel. But he moved to defensive end this season, a move which paid off for the Royals: Hofmeyer, the younger brother of former Bethel player Joey Hofmeyer, has three sacks and 29.5 tackles this season.

“We never dreamt [he would be a standout],” Miller said. “We fell into him.”

It certainly helps if the recruits come blessed with speed; that’s the hallmark of the 2010 Bethel defense. Such a philosophy originated with the University of Miami in the 1990s; more recently, TCU has capitalized on it. Bethel coach Steve Johnson said that opposing tackles should expect that if a Royal defensive lineman gets past them, they’ll likely be faster than the quarterback.

“We don’t send fat guys after the quarterback,” Johnson said.

With a lineup coalesced, Miller and his defensive assistants — linebackers coach Mike Fregeau and defensive assistant Rick Meyer — formulate the gameplan. The three have been together for most of the decade; Miller has 10 years in as coordinator and Fregeau is in his 12th season as a Bethel assistant. Meyer was an all-MIAC defensive end for the Royals in 2000 and 2001 before becoming a coach there. He left for two years as a defensive coordinator at a nearby high school and is now in his sixth season back at Bethel.

Their overall goal: Stop the opponent’s run game cold. Doing so stymies the opposition and leaves them with a “disconcerting” feeling, Miller said. Just as important is the day-to-day work: Johnson marveled at hearing one of his defensive coaches remark that a particular player was a visual learner.

“He’s not just throwing the lesson plan down,” Johnson said. “He knows his guys well enough to understand how they learn.”

The familiarity of working with each other, and with the Royals’ defensive schemes and philosophy, has also been a key component of the defense’s success.

Another component: This year’s group has been particularly tight-knit. Miller couldn’t remember an instance of any of his players complaining about stats, and Johnson also raved about the unit’s cohesiveness and how they seem to genuinely enjoy being around one another.

 

By Brian Hunsicker
For D3sports.com

There must be a secret to Bethel’s defensive success. There simply must be. How else to explain a unit that ranks ninth nationally in rushing defense — yet has no lineman over 240 pounds? How else to explain the sustained success this season in total defense and scoring defense?

The secret is this: It’s not just one secret.

Instead, the combination of recruiting, coaching, chemistry and execution have come together to give the Royals a dream defensive season, as well as a trip to Mount Union in the national semifinals.

The process of building the Royals’ defense — indeed, it is a process — began years ago when the current crop of upperclassmen was recruited.

Bethel defensive coordinator Jimmy Miller said that his recruiting philosophy isn’t to identify and bring in a certain number of defensive linemen or linebackers or defensive backs. Instead, they’re looking for football players; once they’re enrolled, they’ll find a position. And sometimes long after they’re enrolled, they still might find a new home.

Junior Jason Hofmeyer was a tight end for his first two seasons with Bethel. But he moved to defensive end this season, a move which paid off for the Royals: Hofmeyer, the younger brother of former Bethel player Joey Hofmeyer, has three sacks and 29.5 tackles this season.

“We never dreamt [he would be a standout],” Miller said. “We fell into him.”

It certainly helps if the recruits come blessed with speed; that’s the hallmark of the 2010 Bethel defense. Such a philosophy originated with the University of Miami in the 1990s; more recently, TCU has capitalized on it. Bethel coach Steve Johnson said that opposing tackles should expect that if a Royal defensive lineman gets past them, they’ll likely be faster than the quarterback.

“We don’t send fat guys after the quarterback,” Johnson said.

With a lineup coalesced, Miller and his defensive assistants — linebackers coach Mike Fregeau and defensive assistant Rick Meyer — formulate the gameplan. The three have been together for most of the decade; Miller has 10 years in as coordinator and Fregeau is in his 12th season as a Bethel assistant. Meyer was an all-MIAC defensive end for the Royals in 2000 and 2001 before becoming a coach there. He left for two years as a defensive coordinator at a nearby high school and is now in his sixth season back at Bethel.

Their overall goal: Stop the opponent’s run game cold. Doing so stymies the opposition and leaves them with a “disconcerting” feeling, Miller said. Just as important is the day-to-day work: Johnson marveled at hearing one of his defensive coaches remark that a particular player was a visual learner.

“He’s not just throwing the lesson plan down,” Johnson said. “He knows his guys well enough to understand how they learn.”

The familiarity of working with each other, and with the Royals’ defensive schemes and philosophy, has also been a key component of the defense’s success.

Another component: This year’s group has been particularly tight-knit. Miller couldn’t remember an instance of any of his players complaining about stats, and Johnson also raved about the unit’s cohesiveness and how they seem to genuinely enjoy being around one another.

For all of that work, though, what matters are the results on the field. And Johnson refers back to the three guiding words of the program: fast, obedient, disciplined. That drills down into individual technique; for instance, Johnson said, when a slant is called, the defensive line knows where it has to go. Just as importantly, each member knows they have to go full throttle to their assignment.

And who can argue with the results? The Royals have earned lofty rankings not just in rush defense but also in total defense (fourth nationally), scoring defense (fourth) and pass efficiency defense (29th of 236).

“We may not have the best players, but every player we have can do what we ask,” Johnson said. “Over time [the players] become confident in the coaches. You don’t worry too much about your 40 time — you become part of the machine.”

For all of that work, though, what matters are the results on the field. And Johnson refers back to the three guiding words of the program: fast, obedient, disciplined. That drills down into individual technique; for instance, Johnson said, when a slant is called, the defensive line knows where it has to go. Just as importantly, each member knows they have to go full throttle to their assignment.

And who can argue with the results? The Royals have earned lofty rankings not just in rush defense but also in total defense (fourth nationally), scoring defense (fourth) and pass efficiency defense (29th of 236).

“We may not have the best players, but every player we have can do what we ask,” Johnson said. “Over time [the players] become confident in the coaches. You don’t worry too much about your 40 time — you become part of the machine.”

Oct. 13: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 23, Lycoming 16
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Plymouth State 29, at Framingham State 28
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Hamilton 62, Bowdoin 27
Video Video Box Score
Final
at Gallaudet 35, Castleton 25
Video Box Score
Final
at Hobart 52, Rochester 7
Video Box Score
Final
Nichols 23, at Becker 15
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Final
Muhlenberg 34, at Thomas More 31
Video Box Score
Final
at Hope 70, Finlandia 6
Video Box Score Photos Photos
Final
King's 51, at Alvernia 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Morrisville State 41, Utica 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Centre 33, Trinity (Texas) 28
Video Box Score
Final
at Cortland 41, Buffalo State 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Husson 56, at Alfred State 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Wittenberg 41, at Allegheny 14
Video Box Score
Final
Western Connecticut 23, at Massachusetts Maritime 13
Video Box Score
Final
at Amherst 35, Colby 9
Video Box Score
Final
Stevenson 20, at Widener 6
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Final
Wesleyan 44, at Bates 13
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Case Western Reserve 37, St. Vincent 7
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Final
at Carnegie Mellon 17, Bethany 14
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Final
at Salisbury 17, Montclair State 15
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Final
Maryville (Tenn.) 34, at Methodist 9
Video Box Score
Final
Wabash 7, at Ohio Wesleyan 0
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Final
Misericordia 25, at Lebanon Valley 21
Video Photos
Final
Denison 20, at DePauw 12
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Western New England 56, Curry 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Randolph-Macon 45, at Shenandoah 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Kalamazoo 20, at Albion 19
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Brockport 52, at Alfred 0
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Westminster (Pa.) 49, Thiel 7
Box Score
Final
Wooster 27, at Oberlin 21
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Final
at Washington and Lee 40, Emory and Henry 29
Video Box Score
Final
at Frostburg State 56, William Paterson 0
Video Box Score Recap Recap Recap
Final
at Hiram 28, Kenyon 24
Video Box Score
Final
Wesley 54, at Kean 6
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Final
Trine 50, at Olivet 49
Video Box Score
Final
Southern Virginia 23, at Apprentice 21
Box Score
Final
at St. John Fisher 42, Hartwick 14
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final - OT
MacMurray 27, at Crown 21
Video Box Score Recap Live stats
Final
at Martin Luther 28, Westminster (Mo.) 12
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Macalester 47, Lawrence 21
Video Box Score
Final
Ithaca 24, at Union 0
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Final
at Marietta 63, Wilmington 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Coast Guard 15, Maine Maritime 0
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Final
Mount Union 77, at Capital 3
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Tufts 24
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Franklin 42, at Mount St. Joseph 34
Video Box Score Recap Video
Final
Manchester 21, at Bluffton 17
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
John Carroll 49, at Ohio Northern 17
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Hanover 48, Defiance 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Baldwin Wallace 44, Muskingum 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Grove City 28, Waynesburg 3
Video Box Score
Final
Merchant Marine 17, at Springfield 14
Video Box Score
Final
Middlebury 21, at Williams 10
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Huntingdon 52, Brevard 17
Video Box Score
Final
Hampden-Sydney 42, at Bridgewater 21
Video Box Score
Final
at SUNY-Maritime 35, Dean 7
Video Box Score
Final
Endicott 66, at University of New England 38
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 50, Geneva 43
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Berry 35, at Hendrix 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Texas Lutheran 28, East Texas Baptist 21
Video Box Score
Final
Augustana 41, at North Park 7
Video
Final
Louisiana College 35, at McMurry 23
Video
Final
at Washington U. 17, Wheaton (Ill.) 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Wartburg 31, at Coe 19
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Eureka 44, at Concordia-Chicago 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Carleton 36, at Augsburg 34
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Rockford 37, at Lakeland 20
Video Box Score
Final
Gustavus Adolphus 42, at Hamline 14
Video Box Score
Final
at St. John's 40, St. Thomas 20
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Concordia (Wis.) 23, at Aurora 20
Video Box Score
Final
at Benedictine 40, Wisconsin Lutheran 31
Video Box Score
Final
at Loras 44, Nebraska Wesleyan 20
Video Box Score
Final
St. Norbert 21, at Chicago 20
Video Box Score
Final
Bethel 35, at St. Olaf 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Luther 41, Buena Vista 26
Video Box Score
Final
Millikin 32, at Carthage 29
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Knox 28, at Grinnell 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Central 17, Simpson 16
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Ripon 49, Beloit 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-River Falls 21, UW-Stout 19
Video Box Score
Final
Monmouth 45, at Illinois College 13
Video Box Score
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 44, Elmhurst 28
Video
Final
UW-Whitewater 45, at UW-Eau Claire 0
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Sul Ross State 27
Video Box Score
Final
Austin 34, at Millsaps 23
Video Box Score
Final
at Lake Forest 42, Cornell 0
Video Box Score
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 31, UW-Platteville 10
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Bridgewater State 44, Mass-Dartmouth 28
Video Box Score
Final
at Whitworth 55, Pacific Lutheran 13
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Pacific 23, at Puget Sound 22
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Final
George Fox 28, at Willamette 6
Video Box Score
Final
at Linfield 43, Lewis and Clark 26
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Southwestern 21, Belhaven 10
Video Box Score
Final
Rowan 17, at TCNJ 14
Video Box Score
Final
Adrian 28, at Alma 23
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Averett 24, at N.C. Wesleyan 14
Video Box Score
Final
Heidelberg 21, at Otterbein 7
Video Box Score
Final
Anderson 63, at Earlham 0
Video Box Score
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 59, Carroll 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-La Crosse 63, UW-Stevens Point 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Birmingham-Southern 13, at Sewanee 10
Video Box Score
Final
at St. Scholastica 47, Greenville 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 20, Minnesota-Morris 17
Video
Final
La Verne 42, at Whittier 23
Video Box Score
Final
at Chapman 62, Occidental 0
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Final
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 20, at Redlands 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Cal Lutheran 28, Pomona-Pitzer 24
Video Box Score Recap
Oct. 14: All times Eastern
Final
LaGrange 43, at Greensboro 16
Video Box Score
Oct. 19: All times Eastern
8:00 PM
Martin Luther at Northwestern (Minn.)
Video Live stats
Oct. 13: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 23, Lycoming 16
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Muhlenberg 34, at Thomas More 31
Video Box Score
Final
Brockport 52, at Alfred 0
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Frostburg State 56, William Paterson 0
Video Box Score Recap Recap Recap
Final
Wesley 54, at Kean 6
Video Box Score
Final
Wittenberg 41, at Allegheny 14
Video Box Score
Final
Trine 50, at Olivet 49
Video Box Score
Final
at Case Western Reserve 37, St. Vincent 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Mount Union 77, at Capital 3
Video Box Score Photos
Final
John Carroll 49, at Ohio Northern 17
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Berry 35, at Hendrix 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 50, Geneva 43
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. John's 40, St. Thomas 20
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Washington U. 17, Wheaton (Ill.) 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 44, Elmhurst 28
Video
Final
UW-Whitewater 45, at UW-Eau Claire 0
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Sul Ross State 27
Video Box Score
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 31, UW-Platteville 10
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Whitworth 55, Pacific Lutheran 13
Photos Recap Box Score Video
Final
at Linfield 43, Lewis and Clark 26
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 59, Carroll 0
Video Box Score Recap