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2018 YUKON FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Millers expect dominance on defense

There is an old saying in sports, “offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships.”

Yukon will have nine seniors starting on defense this fall, which many are expecting to be one of the top defenses on this side of the state.

“We return a lot of experience,” Yukon defensive coordinator Craig Hubbard said. “I got a lot of these guys when they were sophomores and are building off last year to this year. Expectations are just expectations. We have to keep pushing hard. The bar is high for this group. We have the physicality, the experience and our front four should be dominant.”

Yukon’s starting front four will include Caimon McGee, Jakoby Kopepasah, Owen Olsen and Cody Burch with Isaac Yancy rotating in throughout the game.

“Our goal is to make offenses one-dimensional and that starts with winning first down and being able to stop the run,” Hubbard said. “You can’t let a team run on you, even if they are a pass-first team, you have to take that aspect away.”

On top of a dominant front four and stout front seven, Hubbard said he expects a lot from his back end of the defense as well.

“We have three senior starters back there in the secondary,” Hubbard said. “Most saw a lot of game action last year, so we expect a lot out of them this year.”

The Millers will base out of the 4-2-5 scheme, but Hubbard said this group has the ability to be multiple and give a team different looks because of their athleticism.

“We make our defense simple for our kids,” Hubbard said. “We will make an offense think we are doing something different and fool them when we aren’t doing anything different at all. Our team speed and athleticism is outstanding this year and that will allow us to do a lot of different things.”

Regardless of the type of defenses teams run, being able to get pressure on the quarterback without blitzing is important to a unit’s success.

“Anyone who knows me, knows that I will blitz from time-to-time,” Hubbard said. “But you have to get pressure on the quarterback without having to blitz. If your front four can get pressure on its own, it allows our linebackers and secondary to stay on their levels. Anytime you blitz, you open up that chance of getting beat because you are leaving guys on an island. Having a dominant front seven is key.”

Despite the expectations for the season, Hubbard said he doesn’t feel any added pressure to have success this year.

“I don’t feel pressure,” Hubbard said. “Coach Reed never puts any pressure on me. If there is any pressure, its self-inflicted coming from me because I expect a lot from myself. A lot of these players have been playing inside this same defense for three years and that is important. We face numerous styles of offenses and our job is to take away snaps from the opposing offenses. Our job is to get stops and to get the ball back to our offense.”

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