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Drake Assistant To Lead UTSA Defense
Neal Neathery spent Tuesday house hunting with his wife. He’ll begin teaching his new unit how to hunt for quarterbacks following his hiring as UTSA’s defensive coordinator.
Neathery, 39, becomes the seventh assistant to join head coach Larry Coker.
“There are a lot of unknowns with any new job, and this one has even more than normal,” he said.
“But the thing that really gives you a good feeling is who’s leading it. That’s what gave me a lot of excitement and a lot of interest in this job.”
Neathery spent the past two seasons as assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Drake. A member of the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA), the Bulldogs posted six shutouts during Neathery’s tenure, allowing 17.5 points and 271.4 yards in 22 games.
His units ranked fourth and third in total defense in the Pioneer Football League while recording a total of 54 sacks and 51 takeaways.
“We’re going to run to the football and play hard,” said Neathery, who favors a 4-2-5. “We’re committed to stopping the run, even with all the spread offenses around, so we can bring pressure on second and third down. We’re not going to blitz without caution. But we’re going to be very aggressive.”
Though they haven’t spoken to Neathery, several members of UTSA’s first recruiting class expressed enthusiasm at the prospect of playing in such a system.
“It’s exactly how I like to play,” safety Nic Johnston said. “My defense in high school, we forced a lot of turnovers. That’s the way the game should be played.”
“That’s exciting, man,” linebacker John Walker said. “The more you can confuse the offense, the more I like it.”
Before Drake, Neathery spent six seasons (2001-07) as the associate head coach at Wabash College in Indiana. The Little Giants ranked among the top 25 nationally in total defense in four of his last six seasons. He was named the NCAA Division III Assistant Coach of the Year in 2007.
Neathery was a four-year starter at defensive end for Wheaton (Ill.) College from 1989-92.
UTSA will begin play in 2011 as an FCS independent team with hopes of joining the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I) by 2015.
By Dan McCarney, San Antonio Express-News