Defenders miss many tackles

Where is the statistic for missed tackles?

I would be interested to see it after what happened Saturday, as Southeast Missouri running back Henry Harris slithered through Eastern defenders for 179 yards.

At some point I should have started counting how many tackles Harris broke, but I never did. On many of his big runs, he might have broken as many as three or four if I remember correctly.

This is absolutely ridiculous. Eastern has three of the top linebackers in the Ohio Valley Conference, but not even they were able to tackle this guy.

I am convinced, this Harris must be impossible to tackle, or Eastern’s defense is tired of having no offensive help.

Senior linebacker Nick Nasti managed 14 tackles and junior linebacker Gordy Kickels had nine.

But how many more were missed? Somebody please give me a missed tackle statistic!

Before Saturday’s game, defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni was raving about the play of his three linebackers, Nasti, Kickels and red-shirt junior Cory Leman.

Where were they this weekend, Roc?

Of course, it wasn’t just those three who missed tackles, but maybe Eastern needs to go back to the fundamentals in practice.

The other reason for the missed tackles is that the defense is tired. This is possible, because SEMO rammed the ball down the Panthers’ throats all day long.

Look at the statistics. SEMO ran the ball 46 times out of 56 total plays Saturday.

That’s relentless.

But it was easy for them to run so many times because nobody was stopping them.

Like I said, Harris was running over, under and through all of Eastern’s defenders. Behind Harris, SEMO quarterback Matt Scheible ran the ball 10 times for 67 yards.

The Eastern coaches were not pleased with this. The Eastern defense never made the SEMO offense pass the ball.

The Panthers never made SEMO test two of the best cornerbacks in the OVC, red-shirt senior Rashad Haynes and senior CJ James.

That would’ve been the key to winning Saturday’s game – stopping the run and making SEMO pass the ball.

On the 10 attempts that Scheible made to pass, he didn’t look like a true pocket passer, and he is not. He is an option quarterback.

But he is great at the option. I overheard a SEMO reporter say at the game that Scheible hasn’t made a mistake with the option all season. That’s impressive.

Eastern should’ve made him pass the ball. Sure, they have a 6-foot-6 wide receiver, but Haynes was on him all day long.

But the defensive strategy didn’t work Saturday, and that was the key to SEMO beating Eastern.

This week, aside from working on the offense, the defense will have to get back to work. You can’t allow a team to successfully be one-dimensional.

If you do, then you will lose. That is what happened this weekend.

Alex McNamee can be reached at

581-7944 or at [email protected]