On day four of our camp update, we will be focused on the quarterback of the defense, the linebacker group.

    On day two of the football camp update, we took a look at the offensive side of the ball, and the quarterback. On day four of our camp update, we will be focused on the quarterback of the defense, the linebacker group.

    One could argue that this is Minnesota Crookston’s most deep group on defense. In a league full of high powered offenses, it’s important to have a defense to count on to make a big play. The linebackers group is indeed important, and one of the key clogs on the defense is redshirt junior LaDerek McCray (McComb, Miss.).

    On this hot and humid day, we got to see a little glimpse of what the defense could look like come the season opener at Minnesota State Moorhead on Thurs., Aug. 30. McCray likes what he sees from the defense, especially his own group, the linebackers.

    “We have pretty much all our returners back, and I think that we could be a really strong and tough group to play against,” said McCray. “I really like where we are at.”

    As we get going through the dog days of fall practice, it might get old seeing the same colored helmet on opposite sides of each other, but McCray thinks that will only make the Golden Eagles defense better.

    “We just need to keep showing consistent effort every time we put on the pads,” McCray mentioned. “If we do that, the sky's the limit.”

    Defensive Coordinator Tom Miller, who is in his fourth season on the Golden Eagles staff, and first year as defensive coordinator understands that there will be some bumps along the way, but he really likes what he sees from his defensive unit.

    “The intensity level of everybody is really high, especially from the young guys,” said Miller. “We still have mental errors every now and then that we need to clean up, but that’s expected early on in practice.”

    One thing about the linebacker group that stands out to Miller is the fact that it is so competitive, and everybody is playing hard when they get their chance.

    “This group certainly is one of the deepest,” said Miller. “It’s really competitive, and that is the nice thing about having a deep group like that, is guys know that, which means that they are bringing it every single play, and it’s like the young kids fighting for table scraps. It’s really fun to see.”

    The defense will look to make strides and compete in one of the better conferences in Division II. Those strides will start with the linebackers.

For feedback or questions, contact the Times at (218) 281-2730, Nolan Beilstein at (940) 372-8175 or by email at nbeilstein@crookstontimes.com

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