VIDEO: Florida Tech Defense Dominates In First Scrimmage of Fall Camp

By  //  August 23, 2015

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BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – It was a blisteringly warm day during Florida Tech football’s first scrimmage of fall practice Saturday afternoon at Panther Field.

Despite being on the unshaded side of the field adjacent to the Varsity Training Center, the defense didn’t seem to be bothered by the weather one bit.

Right from the word ‘go’ it was apparent that it was going to be a tough hill to climb for the FIT offense as the first two possessions ended in three-and-outs featuring a total of four incompletions and two short runs. Things didn’t get any easier from there as the swarming secondary was matched by a front seven that seemed to live in the backfield.

Despite playing on the offensive side of the ball during his collegiate playing days, head coach Steve Englehart was thrilled to see the defense’s performance.

Steve Englehart
Steve Englehart

“Coming off last year I know that they have worked extremely hard to get the right people on the field and to get the right techniques taught,” said Englehart.

“It has been a process through this camp and today they showed what type of defense they can be. I hope they continue to fly high with that confidence and build off this momentum.”

It was also easy to see the beaming excitement of Panther defensive coordinator Willie Tillman, who is starting to see all the hard work his players have put in pay off.

“The guys have bought into the program,” said Tillman.

“They sacrificed going home over the summer to stay here and get stronger and faster. They’re not young pups anymore. Just on defense alone we’ve got around 21 defensive juniors. We’ve got guys that have played a lot so it’s about time that we start playing at this level.”

Not only did the defense hold their counterparts to few positive yards, the squad also made a number of big plays.

Early on in the affair, true freshman De’Vontae Weekley made a nice play over the middle, picking off fellow freshman Landon Galloway. Shortly thereafter, Kenny Johnston was absolutely leveled by Jaz Gamble on a short reception.

The defense ruled the day during Florida Tech’s first scrimmage of fall practice Saturday afternoon at Panther Field. (Image by Amanda Stratford)

Another freshman that turned heads was defensive end Jimmy Hinel, who often rushed right past his blocker and created havoc in the backfield. It is important to note, however, that on more than one occasion Hinel was assisted by and flagged for lining up in the neutral zone.

Redshirt-junior defensive back Trai Cadore nearly ruined the shutout, though the points would have gone on the other side of the board. Cadore stepped in front of his man and snatched a Sean Ashley pass out of the air.

It appeared as though Cadore might have enough daylight to take the pick in for six but his progress was halted at about the 35-yard line.

From the defense’s perspective, the day couldn’t have been capped off any better than by what senior defensive back Leo Alba II did.

With the “ones” on the field for both sides, Alba made a terrific jump on a Mark Cato pass and knocked it out of the air. Then, while falling to the ground he made an impressive adjustment to reel the ball in for what looked like a highlight reel interception.

Unfortunately it was ruled that Alba was out of bounds, rendering the play as merely an incompletion. Nonetheless, the statement had been made.

Trai Cadore
Trai Cadore

Trai Cadore, one of the standouts of the day, gave a simple yet sage explanation for what made the difference.

“Everybody is mature, everybody knows what they have to do and everybody just does their job. That’s what college football is all about, doing your job.”

Not only do they do their job but they make sure it’s known as well. One of the biggest takeaways from the scrimmage was the sheer energy of the defensive unit. Players were flying around the field making plays and showing off a little swagger.

There was just as much if not more energy coming from the sideline. Guys were jumping up and down and rushing onto the field to congratulate their teammates after a big stop. The excitement was palpable.

Although he would like for both sides of the ball to produce when game time rolls around, Willie Tillman made it clear that on this day he was glad to see his side show out.

Willie Tillman
Willie Tillman

“I’m a Florida Tech Panther, so I want the offense to do well too…” said Tillman. “… but strictly as a defensive coordinator, I’m fired up about this shutout.”

Season and individual game tickets for the 2015 season are available.

Premium season tickets are only $70 for adults and $45 for FIT employees with ID, seniors ages 65 and above and children ages 5-16.

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General admission season tickets are $50 for adults and $30 for FIT employees, seniors and children.

Individual game tickets are $16 for reserved seating.

General admission is $12 for adults and $6 for seniors ages 65 and above, children ages 5-16 and FIT employees with school ID. Entrance for children ages four and under is free.

Tickets can be purchased at, at the FIT Ticket Office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by calling the ticket office at 321-674-6228.