By RANDY GREGORY
In direct contrast to a woefully inexperienced offensive unit, the Rockford football team boasts almost a wealth of riches in comparison. The unit is led by a pair of the rarest commodity at a school the size of Rockford (three-year starters) in bruising middle linebackers Brent Showers and Randy Garvin. Showers has been “showered” with accolades his entire career at the varsity level and Garvin isn’t far behind. Drew Boatright and Mason Pant are slated to begin as the outside linebackers for the Rams.
The defensive line also boasts returning all-conference tackle Jarett Sobkowiak and regular rotational player Brandon Houle (one of only two Rams who will go both ways). Also listed as starters are Ryan (senior) and Gabe Baumann (sophomore) and Nick Riggs.
The secondary also returns starter Trevor Coughlin and another regular member of the unit in Josh Olson (the other Ram who will play both offensively and defensively). They are scheduled to be joined by sophomore Tyler Bradfield and Jimmy Olewinski as the starting quartet in the Ram defensive backfield.
While Showers, Garvin, Sobkowiak and Coughlin are officially listed as the only returning defensive starters for the Rams, the rest of the lineup is littered with part-time starters and regular components of the defensive rotation from the 2012 season.
“Once our young men come together with regard to understanding our defensive schemes I believe our defensive unit will become special,” said head varsity football coach Ralph Munger. “We were embarrassed on a few occasions in our scrimmage last week defensively so there is a lot of room for improvement there. The play of our inside linebackers and our secondary is going to have to lead the way for us early. We have a team filled with great leadership and a solid work ethic and it may take us a few games to reach our potential offensively. It is paramount that our defense show us the way until that time.”