By Josh Evans / Adrian Daily Telegram
Heading into the season, the Hudson defense had just one goal.
Get better every week.
The Tigers have done that, and assistant coaches Dan Rogers and Harry Bailey have been a big reason why.
Rogers is the statistical wiz of the coaches, breaking things down into numbers and assuring the Hudson defense is never outnumbered.
“Dan is very thorough in his work,” Hudson head coach Chris Luma said. “I have my input but for the most part he runs the show defensively.”
Bailey, on the other hand, brings youth and a recent bit of success to the Tigers. Bailey played football at Adrian College before heading to Hudson to assist in the coaching of the secondary and linebackers.
With the help of those two, the Tigers boasted one of the county’s top defenses.
Luma gives a lot of the credit to the defensive line.
“Having a good defense always starts with stopping the run,” Luma said. “Our defensive ends are very critical. Matt Smith and Chris Aguirre force the offensive line to double team them, which opens up our linebackers.”
Smith and Aguirre have combined for their share of big plays this season. Smith finished last week’s district championship game with 10 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble that lead to a Tiger touchdown.
Aguirre also believes the defense’s ability to improve every week is the main reason for the unit’s success this season.
“At the beginning of the year we had trouble containing the quarterback,” Aguirre said. “Our coaches did a good job getting us in good positions.
“Now we just have to stay humble and take it one game at a time.”
Possibly the biggest question mark of the Hudson defense had been the secondary. Until the Tigers pre-district game many had doubts as to if the Hudson defense could stop a prolific passing attack. After shutting down a quarterback who passed for more than 1,700 yards, Luma looks at his seniorleader in the secondary, safety Nathan Smith.
“Nathan is the glue of our defense,” Luma said. “He has always made plays on the pass but these last couple of weeks he has been making good plays on the running game. He is great in pass defense and he works so hard.”
Heading into today’s showdown of 12-0 teams, Smith and Aguirre are humble yet confident and rightfully so.
“Yeah we are pretty confident,” Aguirre said.
Added Smith: “They like to run the ball, and that’s what we are best at — stopping the run.”