All-American linebacker Blake Peiffer broke Southeast's single-season record with 151 tackles in 2011
4/18/2012 11:49:00 AM
Peiffer's Blue Collar Approach Holds High on Redhawk Defense
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.
– What you see is what you get with Southeast Missouri senior linebacker Blake Peiffer
. A good leader, a profound student of the game, and above all else, just an ordinary guy with a blue collar work ethic.
Peiffer grew up in nearby Jackson, a town located less than 10 miles away from the Southeast campus. He says his teammates often give him a hard time because he is so close to home.
“They like to joke with me about being the local boy,” said Peiffer with a laugh. “I just take it all in stride and have fun.”
Simply put, this “local boy” is turning into quite a story for the Redhawks.
Peiffer led Southeast and ranked third in the nation with 13.7 tackles per game at the center of the Redhawks defense last season. He finished with double-digit tackles in 10 of 11 starts en route to earning First-Team All-Ohio Valley Conference honors.
In addition, Peiffer broke the school's single-season record in tackles (151) and was named to multiple All-America teams, becoming the fifth All-American under head coach Tony Samuel.
Peiffer's breakthrough 2011 campaign came one short year after Southeast won its first-ever OVC title and made the NCAA Playoffs. He started five games and ranked fifth on the team with 59 tackles that season. Peiffer enters his final year at Southeast ranked tied for 16th
in career tackles with 242.
So far this spring, it has been business as usual.
“I'm just trying to improve and get better each day,” said Peiffer. “Things are going well. We still have that learning curve and I'm trying to learn the system like it's the back of my hand.”
Peiffer thrives on rolling up his sleeves and getting in the trenches with his teammates on the defensive side of the football. He is one of the toughest players on the team, who has put an abundance of hard hits on opposing ball carriers throughout his career. One, in particular, came during his freshman year.
“The hardest hit I had here was against Jacksonville State in 2009,” recalled Peiffer with a smile. “I knocked myself out on the play.”
Blake is the second member of the Peiffer family to play football at Southeast. His father, Dan, was a center in the 1970s and is a member of the school's Athletic Hall of Fame. Dan went on to play in the National Football League for the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins.
“I have a great relationship with my dad,” said Peiffer. “We talk after every game. He gives me a lot of good advice and I have learned a lot from him.”
A linebacker has led the team in tackles every year since 2006, and Peiffer believes the backers will be a strong part of the Redhawk defense again this season.
“I think we are further ahead of where we were at this time last year,” commented Peiffer. “We are working hard on technique, assignments and finishing every play.”
Other Spring Notes
• Southeast has six of its allotted 15 spring practices remaining. The Redhawks will hold another scrimmage from 1-3 p.m. at Houck Stadium Saturday. Spring drills will conclude with the team's annual spring game (Noon-2 p.m., at Houck Stadium) and spring party (6 p.m., at Kimbeland Country Club) on Apr. 28.
• Kyle Snyder
has been directing the first-team offense this spring. Snyder, a transfer from Ohio University, appears to have the edge in the battle to replace quarterback Matt Scheible
. Snyder, along with Tyler Peoples
, Zach Levy
and Scott Lathrop
, have been taking snaps this spring. Peoples, Levy and Lathrop have not played in a college game.
• Southeast held its first scrimmage of the spring on Apr. 14 at Houck Stadium. Kyle Snyder
played well at quarterback, rushing for 39 yards on eight carries, and completing 4-of-9 passes for 23 yards. At least three of his passes were dropped.
• Running back Levi Terrell
averaged nine yards per carry in last week's scrimmage. Terrell ran for 63 yards on seven attempts. Terrell is healthy after suffering a broken collarbone at Tennessee State, five games into the 2011 season. Despite his injury, Terrell still ranked second on the team among running backs with 312 yards a year ago.
• The Redhawks worked on timing and execution during their first live game-simulated action of the spring. There were two touchdowns scored last Saturday, a 57-yard interception return by defensive end Justin Love
, and a 45-yard pass from Zach Levy
to wide receiver Matt Bell
• Southeast's offensive line has six players back who had starting experience last season. Colt McCauley
(11), Evan Conrad
(11), Dominic Maldonado
(11), Matt Shannon
(11), Tyler French
(6) and Pete Niggemann
(4) combined for 54 starts up front. The Redhawks led the Ohio Valley Conference and ranked ninth in the nation in rushing with 233.1 yards per game, while turning the ball over a league-low 14 times in 2011.