Clovis senior nose tackle Daniel Segovia splits a pair of blockers during Thursday’s practice at the high school. He is third on the team in tackles.
It’s easy to spot Daniel Segovia.
At 6-foot-2 and 275 pounds, the Clovis senior nose guard stands out among his teammates like an SUV in a sea of passenger cars.
Segovia said being big has its obvious advantages, however, with size comes expectations. Sometimes supersized expectations, he said.
“People expect a lot from you just because you’re big,” said Segovia, third on the team with nine tackles, including a sack.
“Everybody expects you to dominate and beat up on everybody.”
Segovia said size is often associated with aggression, which in his case, was not true. With constant prodding, including from his mother, Segovia has learned to play more physical.
“My mother told me I needed to be meaner on the field,” the soft-spoken Segovia said, “just as long as I go back to being myself off the field.”
Segovia was bumped from defensive tackle to nose guard after the first game of the season in an effort to solidify the middle of the Wildcats’ defense.
Clovis defensive coordinator Darren Kelley said putting Segovia at nose guard forces opponents to account for him on every play, even to the point of drawing double or triple teams.
“He’s nearly impossible to block when he wants to be,” Kelley said.
Segovia played some nose guard for the Wildcats last year so he’s at least used to it.
“The biggest difference is before it was one person blocking you,” Segovia said. “(At nose tackle) sometimes you’ll have three people hitting you from different angles. You’ve got to be more physical.”
Segovia and the Wildcats (1-1) host Amarillo Palo Duro (1-1) tonight at Leon Williams Stadium.
Kelley said the Dons’ overall speed presents challenges on both sides of the ball, especially on offense because the Dons like to operate out of a spread formation and create one-on-one matchups for their playmakers.
“We like to play smash-mouth football and hit people as hard as we can and try to win the war of attrition,” Kelley said. “When they spread it out, it’s hard to get shots on them. You don’t wear them out.
“They’re scary because they’re always one tackler away from making a big play.”
Hampered by injuries to its starting quarterback and wide receiver, Palo Duro struggled to move the ball in a 19-7 loss last week to Amarillo High.
Palo Duro coach Steve Parr said like most teams this time of year the Dons are still searching for an offensive identity.
“We’re hoping to develop a running game,” said Parr, in his ninth season at the Class 4A Texas school. “We’ve got to be able to move the ball on the ground, or at least move the sticks.”
Sophomore Dartel Lewis will start at quarterback for Maurice Burks while wide receiver Chad Johnson’s availability is still questionable. Johnson caught a school-record 59 passes for 624 yards last year.
Third-team all-state linebacker Chris Brown leads an attacking Palo Duro defense that also returns a pair of all-district defensive backs in O’Quinn Young and Dustin Lyseight.
Kelley said he expects the Dons to blitz a lot.
“Their speed coming off the end creates a lot of problems,” Kelley said. “Our guards and backs will have to take better angles this week and block well if we’re going to move the ball.”
7 p.m. today, Leon Williams Stadium
* Records: Palo Duro 1-1, Clovis 1-1
* Coaches: Palo Duro, Steve Parr, 9th season; Eric Roanhaus, 30th
* Last week: Palo Duro lost to Amarillo High 19-7, Clovis beat Eldorado 24-7
* Last meeting: 2006, Palo Duro beat Clovis 32-26, OT
* Palo Duro players to watch: Cedric Johnson, WR, 5-11, 160, Sr.; Chris Brown, LB, 6-2, 195, Sr.; O’Quinn Young, DB, 6-0, 185, Sr.
* Overview: Palo Duro utilizes its team speed by spreading the field on offense and attacking on defense. Solid tackling will be paramount to the Wildcats’ chances because of the Dons’ big-play ability.
* Pick ‘em: Clovis has six interceptions in two games. Senior CB Jaden Isler leads with 4.
* Quotable: Clovis is one of the Top 10 programs in the country. They’re always technically sound and play with a lot of enthusiasm, pride and purpose.” — Palo Duro coach Steve Parr
* On the radio: KCLV 1240 AM and 99.1 FM, KTQM 99.9 FM, KKYC 102.3 FM