Waiting for Waldorf: Blue Hawks brace for Warrior offense
The Dickinson State football team hasn't seen anything like Hilton Joseph. The Waldorf University (Iowa) sophomore quarterback has the second-most rushing yards of Warrior players with 443 yards over six games, just 54 yards fewer than lead runni...
The Dickinson State football team hasn't seen anything like Hilton Joseph.
The Waldorf University (Iowa) sophomore quarterback has the second-most rushing yards of Warrior players with 443 yards over six games, just 54 yards fewer than lead running back Jordin Roberts.
The Blue Hawks will face a steep challenge trying to contain him when they welcome Waldorf for their Homecoming game at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Biesiot Activities Center.
"It's going to be tough," head coach Pete Stanton said. "We just have to be sound in how we play. He's a guy we have to account for in the passing game. Our linebackers can't drop as deep as they normally drop because he can take off and hurt you, so as a result it makes it tougher on the secondary. He's just dynamic in what he does."
In the air, Joseph has thrown for 1,391 yards and 13 touchdowns with four interceptions. He has completed 61 percent of his passing attempts.
"The other thing that really makes him difficult is you don't really get a good hit on him," Stanton said. "You watch him every game and he's very difficult to catch up to, or he'll get out of bounds, or throw the ball away. It's not like you can get that hit on him. He's very elusive."
The Blue Hawks have progressively gotten better at putting pressure on the quarterback, with four sacks in both the last two games. However, with Joseph at quarterback, the evidence of their increased aggression might dwindle.
"Basically we've just really keyed on him, making sure we have a lot of spies on him," senior linebacker Steven Koch said. "We need to make sure we stay disciplined in our rush lanes and pretty much know he can kill us at any time of the game. He's not really a pocket passer. He'll break out and run all over the place and make plays. We haven't really seen anyone quite that good yet. We have to stay disciplined and when it comes down to it, we have to get him tackled."
When the Florida-born quarterback isn't running, he's likely looking for one of three receivers. Cameron Newsome and Samuel Huntley lead Warrior receivers with 391 and 384 yards, respectively. Benjamin Mau, who stands at 6-foot-7, follows with 254 receiving yards.
Santon usually places junior defensive back Jay Liggins on an opponent's strongest receiver, but with three quick receivers, especially one so tall, he said he will rotate which Liggins will cover based on field position and formation.
"Basically we just have to work on getting hands on them, making it tough to get into their routes and getting their breaks," Koch said. "If we can get pressure on their QB and they scramble around hopefully that gives our defensive backs more time to cover them up."
On the other side of the ball, Stanton said he isn't sure what type of looks Waldorf will show his offense, as they switch it up so frequently.
"If we had our druthers we would rather run the ball against everybody, but that's easier said than done," Stanton said. "We just have to take what they're going to give us. They have some athletic guys. This game is going to be a time of possession game for offense."
To top off the preparation, it's Homecoming Week, during which alumni and past players pay a visit to Dickinson State, many of which will attend the game.
"There's a lot of hype coming around, a lot of people coming back home," Koch said. "It'll probably be the biggest game of the season, the most attendance. We just got to hopefully play well for the home fans and hopefully get a big 'W'. ... Like old Coach (Arlan) Hofland would say, 'It's not our homecoming, it's for the people coming back,' so it should be a pretty good one."