Dixie State struggled to a 3-8 record last season and lost its last five games while giving up 51 points per contest in that stretch. The defense will need to be better if the team hopes to improve.
This season the defense will benefit from the return of last season's leading tackler and leading pass rusher, linebacker Jake Duncan (71 tackles) and defensive end Sean Gibson (three sacks).
But the Red Storm secondary will be a total rebuild; they lose the services of Cache Morgan, who led the team with three interceptions, as well as regulars Ray Chapman and Nick Porrazzo.
On offense, Dixie returns senior quarterback Griff Robles after he passed for 2,033 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. He led the team with five rushing touchdowns but completed just 51 percent of his passes and threw 12 interceptions.
One of Robles' favorite targets returns is senior receiver Mitch Frei, who caught 34 passes for 495 yards and six touchdowns.
Leading rusher A.J. Johnson is gone, but Myles Burton returns. As a freshman last season, Burton averaged 6.1 yards per carry and scored a touchdown, and he should see his role expand this season.
Dixie opens the season Sept. 7 against Idaho State of the Big Sky Conference in Pocatello.
All times MT
Sept. 7 • at Idaho State, 3 p.m.
Sept. 14 • Azusa Pacific, 6 p.m.
Sept. 21 • at Western Oregon, 2 p.m.
Sept. 28 • at Humboldt State, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 • Simon Fraser,6 p.m.
Oct. 12 • at Central Washington, 2 p.m.
Oct. 19 • Western Oregon, 6 p.m.
Oct. 26 • Humboldt State, 6 p.m.
Nov. 2 • at Simon Fraser, 3 p.m.
Nov. 9 • at Azusa Pacific, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 16 • Central Washington, 6 p.m.