Rookie coordinator Jesse Bobbit has Jackrabbit defense rolling

Nov. 17—BROOKINGS — With a 34-0 shutout of Youngstown State last Saturday, top-ranked South Dakota State’s defense had its best game of the season and, perhaps, the best it has put forth during the Jackrabbits’ 24-game winning streak

SDSU won its first national championship last year and the defense spearheaded the charge, limiting opponents to 15.8 points and 273 yards per game. It was widely regarded as the best defense in Jackrabbit history.

A year later, this South Dakota State defense, so far, has been even better. The Jacks are No. 1 in the nation in total defense (258 yards allowed per game) and scoring defense (10.7 points allowed per game), and they’re clearly improving as the season advances towards the playoffs.

And they’re doing it all under the direction of a rookie defensive coordinator, 29-year-old Jesse Bobbit.

Following last year’s title season, head coach John Stiegelmeier retired and was replaced by defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Jimmy Rogers. One of Rogers’ first moves after taking the job was promoting Bobbit to his former role, and with the departure of defensive assistants Christian Smith (to Northwestern) and Rob Erickson (now head coach at Wisconsin-Eau Claire), Rogers and Bobbit were the only two defensive coaches to return from last year.

That has hardly been an obstacle.

Bobbit, who was an SDSU captain and all-conference linebacker not too long ago, has made a seamless transition to the booth as defensive playcaller after just one season as a full-time coach (he was the safeties coach last year), with new assistants Jalon Bibbs (defensive line), Mike Banks (cornerbacks) and Pete Menage (safeties) all assimilating quickly into the program.

For Rogers, himself a former SDSU linebacker, captain and overall defensive football junkie, the play of his defense has been satisfying, and…

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Author : The Daily Republic, Mitchell, S.D.

Publish date : 2023-11-18 00:47:00

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