Create an Identity for Your Defense with a Nickname

By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor

Miami Carol City (Fla.) coach Aubrey Hill wanted to change his team’s defensive scheme last offseason, so he hired longtime friend Damon Cogdell to overhaul the unit. A Class 6A state championship followed.

The Identity

Cogdell’s imposing defense at Miramar earned the nickname, “The Darkside Defense.” During games, the Miramar crowd chanted “Dark Side, Dark Side” when the defense took the field.

Upon his arrival at Carol City last spring, Cogdell wanted to create a similar identity for his new defense.

“We tried Darkside 2.0, but the kids didn’t want to bring that over here from Miramar,” Cogdell said. “I wanted to create an identity.”

The Carol City defense created its own identity through its play and its nickname. The “Dawgs” entered the state championship game against Lake Gibson allowing the fewest yards allowed per game (105.1) of any team in South Florida. They also limited opponents to 7.9 points per game against their defense. They won the state-championship game 14-6, allowing 150 total yards of offense.

“The kids fed off the nickname,” Cogdell said. “They’re great kids. When the kids buy in, it makes my job that much easier. They were willing to accept when we were telling them to do from the beginning of the offseason. They believed in me, and that’s the most important part of putting in a new scheme.”

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