Expert: NSU looking for respect

To get the inside scoop on
Northwestern State, we went to the expert on Demon football -- Chris Salim of
the Natchitoches Times -- with questions
about NSU and this weekend's game in Lubbock.
What are the expectations surrounding Brad Henderson in his second season as
NSU's starting quarterback?
CS: "I think Coach (Bradley Dale) Peveto has definitely kind of set him as a leader of the offense.
Last year, he came in, he was battling for a starting spot and he got it
basically after week one. He just kind of showed that he was ready to take over.
"He's kind of a dual-threat kind of quarterback, likes to get out and get on the
move outside the pocket. He can run if he needs to. I think as long as he stays
healthy, they're good to go but this is a type of team that will use a lot of
different packages with different quarterbacks.
"I don't see the offense being a
problem with him. Henderson's definitely a guy that is a key for Northwestern's
success this year. Given with how much parity there is in the Southland
Conference, they're going to lean on him pretty heavily offensively."
From a defensive standpoint, what should Texas Tech fans look for when NSU
is on the field?
CS: "They're fortunate enough to have an absolute stud at all three levels of the
defense. (Defensive end) Lesley Deamer anchors the defensive line. He broke out last year. I
think he had four or five sacks. Statistically, it doesn't show up as dominant
as he was but he ended up being a guy that they couldn't block. He got a lot of
hits on the quarterback, a lot of hurries. He's a guy that will definitely make
some plays.
"Having (linebacker) Derek Rose returning, preseason All-American linebacker.
He's supposedly getting some tugs from a couple of NFL teams, I haven't heard
exactly who. He's the heart and soul of the defense. He'll easily lead the team
in tackles if I had to guess this year. Probably a little undersized for the
next level in my opinion, but if he puts on 25 pounds you're talking about a guy
that could be a heck of an NFL linebacker.
"Then, in the secondary, (safety) Jamaal White,
preseason All-American. He's just a guy that kind of has a nose for the
football. It's his second season in a row to be a preseason All-American. He's
one of those guys that will help anchor -- I actually see the secondary as being
the strong point of the defense this year just because of how much depth they
have. They have him and then (safety) Bert White, no relation. It will be a good test for
them right off the back. That's their strong point, and they'll get tested to
the Nth degree against a powerhouse like Tech."
How is Northwestern State approaching Saturday's game?
CS: "They're excited about it. It's a fun opportunity for them. I talked to Coach
Peveto and several of the coaches, and they kind of want to go in there and, at
the very
least, earn respect. That's what they're trying to do."
What's one of the big question marks facing this team as the head into the
CS: "I think
it's the offensive line. The offensive line struggled last year, and I think a
lot of it had to do with injuries. They got a new offensive line coach in this
year, Allen Rudolph, and he's done a great job with them, making sure they're
accountable for everything -- if they miss a block, he's in their butt.
"I think
they're going to go about nine to 10 deep on the line, which will help out a
lot, especially with as many blitz packages as they see week-to-week against
teams like Sam Houston."