Dixie State Red Storm hoping to prove critics wrong in 2013

ST GEORGE — With a good mix of returning starters and some highly regarded newcomers, the Dixie State Red Storm football team looks to stamp out low preseason expectations and make a huge stride forward as a Division II football program.

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dsulogoHead Coach: Scott Brumfield, Brigham Young (6-26, 3 years)
Assistants: Judd Thompson, offensive coordinator; Derek Campbell, defensive coordinator; Will Liebert, offensive line; Jim Eggleston, tight ends; Zack Fox, wide receivers; Nick Garibay, asst. offensive line; Robert Grant, linebackers; Richard May, defensive backs; Jody Morgan, running backs & special teams.
2012 Record: 3-8
Conference: 3-7, 6th
Returning Letter Winners: Off – 17 Def – 16 Kickers – 1 Letter Winners Lost – 16
Returning Starters: Off – 9 Def – 6 Kickers – 0
Basic Offense: Pro Set
Basic Defense: Pro 4-3
Stadium (Capacity): Hansen Stadium (5,500)

Rushing – Griff Robles (QB, 6-5, 230, Sr., 116-450, 5 TDs); Myles Burton (RB, 5-9, 195, So., 40-244, 1 TD).
Passing – Griff Robles (169-332-12, 2033, 16 TDs).
Receiving – Mitch Frei (WR, 6-2, 200, Sr., 34-495, 6 TDs); Randon Willard (WR, 27-325, 3 TDs).
Kick Scoring – None.
Tackles – Jake Duncan (LB, 6-0, 235, Sr., 40-31-71, TFL 6 ½ – 24); Nick Largent (LB, 6-0, 230, Sr., 27-26-53); Sean Gibson (DL, 6-3, 275, Sr., 16-22-38); Daniel Moffett (DB, 6-2, 195, Jr., 20-15-35).
All-Stars – Joe Don Duncan (TE, 6-4, 270, Sr., 1st team GNAC in 2011); Jake Duncan (LB, 6-0, 235, Sr., 2nd team in GNAC in 2011).

KEY LOSSES: Cache Morgan (KR, 1st team GNAC; DB, 2nd team GNAC); Zack Fox (WR, 2nd team GNAC); Nick Garibay (OL, 2nd team).

Joel Davis (RB, 5-9, 185, Jr., Natchez, MS – Copiah-Lincoln); Saula Taufa (DL, 6-3, 315, Jr., Manti, UT – Snow); Jake Miller (DL, 6-2, 240 Jr., Tremonton, UT – Snow); Zac Christian (DB, 5-11, 190, Jr., Plain City, UT – Snow); Jamal Smith (DB, 6-2, 1190, Jr., Oxnard, CA – Utah) Pauli Latu (DL, 6-1, 290, Jr., West Valley City, UT – Utah/Arizona Western).

Despite returning more starters than any other team the Red Storm is picked to finish last by the coaches of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Quarterback Griff Robles (6-5, 230, Sr., Spanish Fork, UT – Utah) and All-American tight end Joe Don Duncan (6-4, 270, Sr., Corona, CA – Notre Dame & El Camino) are among nine returning starters on offense who will take the field this fall for Dixie State. The Red Storm, who posted a 3-8 record last season without their All-American Duncan, have more returning starters on offense than any other GNAC team. “Our skill players have been working all summer,” said Duncan. “I think our offense is a very cohesive unit right now.”

Robles completed 169 of 332 passes for 2,033 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, the most yards and touchdowns of any returning quarterback in the GNAC. Duncan who earned two first team All-American awards (D2football,com Daktronics) in 2011 when he led all Division II tight ends in receiving with 64 catches for 949 yards and nine touchdowns, returns after going down with injury at the beginning of the 2012 season.

Other key returning offensive players include running back Myles Burton (5-9, 195, So., Berkeley, CA – Rodriguez), who rushed for 244 yards on 40 carries and wide receivers Mitch Frei (6-2, 200, Sr., Santa Clara, UT – Snow) and Randon Willard (6-0, 180, Jr., Santa Clara, UT – Snow Canyon). Frei caught 34 passes for 495 yards and six touchdowns, while Willard had 27 catches for 325 yards and three touchdowns. Among the top offensive newcomers is running back Joel Davis (5-9, 185, Jr., Natchez, MS – Copiah-Lincoln). “We have a lot of versatility on offense,” Dixie coach Scott Brumfield said. “The more weapons we have the more it’ll take the pressure off of Joe Don (Duncan) within our scheme (single-back sets).

Six starters are back on defense led by Jake Duncan (6-0, 235, Sr., Corona, CA – Notre Dame), who has led the Red Storm in tackles each of the past two seasons with 78 and 71, respectively. He was a GNAC second team all-conference selection in 2011. Last year Duncan had 6 ½ tackles for losses totaling 24 yards. Other key returning tacklers include linebacker Nick Largent (6-0, 230, Sr., Escalon, CA – San Joaquin Delta), defensive lineman Sean Gibson (6-3, 275, Sr., Herriman, UT – Riverton & Utah State) and defensive back Daniel Moffett (6-2, 195, Jr., Kaysville, Davis). Largent had 53 tackles, including 5 ½ for losses, and Gibson was credited with 38 tackles, six for losses totaling 29 yards. Moffett had 35 tackles. Among the new players who will make an impact this season are linemen Jake Miller (6-2, 240, Jr., Tremonton, UT – Snow) and Saula Taufa (6-3, 315, Jr., Manti, UT – Snow) and defensive backs Zac Christian (5-11, 190, Jr., Plain City, UT – Snow) and Jamal Smith (6-2, 190, Jr., Oxnard, CA). “The one thing we struggled with last year was getting pressure on the quarterback, and we believe (Jake) Miller will help solidify that role for us,” Brumfield said.

The Red Storm will begin the season on September 7, 2013 against Idaho State in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

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