Raiders' defense also to unveil new look in Black and White game

While much of the attention during spring ball has been focused on new head football coach Craig Howard and the Southern Oregon offense, the Raiders defense will also have a new look in 2011.

Under the direction of first-year defensive coordinator Matt Toblin, that defense will get a chance to show off tonight in the annual Black and White Spring Game at Raider Stadium. The game, which kicks off at 7 p.m., will consist of four 12-minute running clock quarters.

"The effort has been great," Toblin said. "Of course we've had our ups and downs with learning a new system and feeling each other out. Now we are hoping to start to see the mistakes start to decrease."

While the Raiders recruited a handful of playmakers they hope to fill some holes when they show up next Fall, Toblin has been impressed with the players that remain from last year's squad.

Junior Juwuan Brown returns as a starting defensive lineman after finishing last season with 41 tackles, nine tackles-for-loss and 3 1/2 sacks.

"Juwuan is very quick for his size," Toblin said. "He's extremely difficult to block."

Defensive ends Daniel Marcel and Nate Svedin have also caught Tobin's eye during spring ball.

Svedin, a tight end last year, and Mike Springer have moved from the offense to the defense this year. Springer, a running back last season, is already making some noise as a linebacker. "He is just a natural at linebacker," Toblin said. "He has the mentality of a linebacker and the toughness."

Also at linebacker, senior Kalii Robinson is looking like the playmaker that he showed signs of being last year when he recorded 48 tackles in just eight games.

In the defensive backfield, senior Austin Cantrell has had a great spring and Toblin says there is a huge battle going on at cornerback.

"The guys have learned a lot this spring going against our offense," Toblin said. "Our offense throws so much at us that we've seen more during the spring than most teams see during the regular season."

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