Sachse’s pass defense went through some ups and downs last season, but with several returning players, the team is excited about their prospects in 2023.
The Mustangs return several players, as both starters and backups, to the varsity secondary. With their experience from last season, defensive backs coach Jalen Griffin believes they have the talent to step in and be leaders of the defense.
“We got a lot of talented players on the team,” Griffin said. “They work hard every single day and put the work in whether in the weight room or on the field. They’ve spent a lot of the offseason working with us at camps and with us during the workouts. I feel like we can compete with any offense in the area.”
Sachse’s put plenty of work in this summer to prepare for the new season, sported by their guys in the back. Coach Griffin said what’s impressed him the most has been the team’s desire to learn and become better players.
“They’ve taken time to learn the game of football better this summer,” Griffin said. “They’re working to understand techniques and assignments and understanding the awareness and key spots on the field.”
Leading the way at cornerback and safety this season are Quentin Ellis, Jackson Chapman, Jacob Dillard and Ivory Chester. Those four players will receive the bulk of the reps, while players like Jordan Nelson, Anthony Okoye, Tyler Rice, Aidan Sharp and Jackson King, will get reps as depth pieces.
Chester is entering his senior season with the Mustangs and earned snaps on the varsity team going back to his freshman year. With the most experience on the team, Coach Griffin expects a big season out of him in terms of production and leadership.
“I’m looking for him to have a breakout year and be a leader on and off the field,” Griffin said. “I want him to talk and be communicative and be the focal point of the defense.”
Chester will play strong safety, while Dillard will line up at free safety for the Mustang’s defense. That duo will be relied upon to prevent the big plays that plagued Sachse’s defense last season, and they’re also tasked with stepping up and making tackles when they need to as well.
“Both those guys are just bang-bang hitters,” Griffin said. “Ivory in open space and between tackles and Jacob in open field, they both do a great job of closing with speed and making tackles. Whether it’s making tackles in coverage or the run game, they’re both capable.”
Sachse is aiming with their two safeties to create more turnovers this year. The team needs to further help their offense gain a positive field position, and the team hopes Chester and Dillard can help contribute to that.
“We need ball hawks back there,” Griffin said. “We need them to make the right plays and tackle, but when the opportunity comes their way to make a play they have to take it.”
Ellis and Chapman will handle the cornerback responsibilities, and Coach Griffin credits them both for being students of the game and willing to learn and help the team improve. Ellis’ speed and versatility will be key to his production as the team’s top option at the position.
“Quentin has some great feet,” Griffin said. “He can play press and run with guys deep and has great footwork. His coverage is second to none and can handle almost any matchup. I feel like he’s built to handle our top receivers next season.”
Chapman transferred to Sachse before this season but takes over the other starting cornerback spot with plenty of talent to show. Coach Griffin is excited to see him on the field in a Mustangs uniform.
“He’s very long and has the skills to go up and get the ball,” Griffin said. “He just hasn’t played for us a lot so we want to see what he can do.”
Alongside the starters, Sachse’s backups will receive plenty of chances to prove themselves and get more snaps on the field. Rice played as the team’s third safety last season, while coach Griffin believes Sharp and Okoye can get plenty of snaps as well.
“It’s just the next man up for us,” Griffin said. “We prepare our backups like our starters and want them to be ready to step in and contribute if we need them. They’re all very capable players.”
They’ll get that chance on the team’s first game on Friday, Aug. 25, as the Mustangs take on Coppell on the road.
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