December 9, 2010

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.”

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
Video
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Belhaven at Millsaps
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Endicott at Framingham State
Video Live Stats
12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
Video Live Stats
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
Video Live Stats
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
12:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Kean at Christopher Newport
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
Live Stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Norwich
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
Video Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
Video Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
Audio
1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
Video Audio
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
Audio
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
Live Stats
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
Audio
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
Video
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
Video Audio Audio
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
Live Stats
2:30 PM
Lawrence at Presentation
4:00 PM
McPherson at Nebraska Wesleyan
4:00 PM
UW-Platteville at George Fox
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
Video Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
Video Live Stats
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Video Live Stats
6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Denison at Marietta
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats
7:30 PM
Hanover at Centre
Video Live Stats
8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
Video Live Stats Live Stats
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
8:30 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
Video
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
Live Stats
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
Video
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
4:00 PM
UW-Platteville at George Fox
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Video Live Stats
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
Live Stats Audio
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
Live Stats
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats