HAMMOND – Of all the Southeastern Louisiana football team’s position groups, perhaps none is more experienced across the board than the Lion defensive line.
A total of 10 returning letter winners will be a part of the veteran defensive line corps. Seniors Fred Brown and Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund are among the returners, along with Ronald Cherry III, Tainano Gailua, Josh Carr Jr., David Fields, Feletoa Ailua, Will Douglas, Noah Vance and Dwaine Thomas.
Fortifying the veteran group is Steven Wright, who is expected to be a force in the middle in his debut season with the Lions. The senior sat out 2018 after transferring from Virginia, where he played in 24 games and started four for the Cavaliers.
The newest face in the DL meeting room is assistant head coach/defensive line coach Raymond Monica, who brings three decades of coaching experience to Hammond. The first-year Lion assistant and Garyville native was most recently the head coach at Arkansas Tech.
Monica, who joined the program in January, had his transition eased by his veteran group. His charges’ progress through the spring and now two weeks into fall camp has been encouraging.
“Our guys have put in the work to make some huge improvements since the opening day of spring,” Monica said. “We’ve switched to a four-man front and we’ve adjusted well to the change in scheme. Now that we’re comfortable, you can see a daily improvement.
“Since we’ve been in fall camp, the work our players put in on their own over the summer has been evident,” Monica added. “We came to camp more fundamentally and technically sound and that has put us further ahead 16 days into fall.”
Adeyemi-Berglund has emerged as one of the leaders of the defense after earning All-Southland Conference honors last season. He is one of several multi-year letter winners among the defensive line corps, along with Brown, Cherry III, Gailua and Ailua.
“Isaac has shown great leadership for not just our group, but the defense as a whole,” Monica said. “Fred Brown has been very consistent from the start of spring to now. We think Steven Wright is going to make an immediate impact and we have a lot of options at defensive tackle that have played in a lot of football games for us. David Fields, Josh Carr and Dwaine Thomas have continued to improve this fall.”
Overall, Monica heads into the 2019 campaign with a lot of optimism in terms of his group’s prospects.
“We have a lot of depth up front and a lot of different players that can step up if their numbers called,” Monica said. “We’re putting in the necessary work and we’re excited to see how we perform when the lights go on.”
The Lions will continue fall camp on Friday with a 9 a.m. practice at Strawberry Stadium. Southeastern season ticket holders are invited to pick up their season tickets at the annual Season Ticket Party on Saturday at 11 a.m. in the Victory Club. The event is open to SLU football season ticket holders only.
2019 Fall Camp Schedule
Friday, August 16 – 9 a.m.
Saturday, August 17 – 9 a.m. / 11 a.m. – Season Ticket Party
Sunday, August 18 – 3:30 p.m.
Monday, August 19 – 9 a.m.
Tuesday, August 20 – 9 a.m.
Saturday, August 24 – 1 p.m. – Media Day