MIAMI — After near record-setting numbers of true freshmen, walk-ons, transfers and sophomores reported last Sunday for the month-long session of football workouts at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, first year defensive coordinator Dustin Lundry is enjoying working with the exaggerated numbers.
Landry joined the Golden Norsemen during last spring's drills as a replacement for longtime defensive coach Zach Allen.
Allen has assumed the responsibilities of offensive line coach after eight years on the defensive side of the football.
Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, Landry attended schools in both Baton Rouge and Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Landry received his undergraduate degree in criminology from Auburn in 2006 and his master's degree in college administration from Auburn in 2009.
While at Auburn, he served as a student assistant on the defense in 2007 and a graduate assistant-analyst from 2009-2011.
Landry was a member of the Tigers’ coaching staff that won the 2009 Outback Bowl. He also helped coach the Tigers to the 2010 SEC and the NCAA national championships.
During the 2008 season, Landry served as a defensive graduate assistant at Iowa State.
Following a 2011 victory by Auburn in the Peach Bowl, Landry took his coaching expertise to Corsicana, Texas, and spent one year as defensive coordinator at Navarro College.
The Bulldogs won the Southwest Junior College Football Conference title with a 62-24 victory over the Golden Norsemen at Red Robertson Field.
After the 2013 and 2014 seasons as defensive secondary coach at Troy (Alabama) University, Landry served the spring of 2015 as defensive coordinator at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina.
He became the defensive coordinator at Holmes Community College in Goodman, Mississippi, for the 2015 season.
Landry returned to Western Carolina in 2016, serving as defensive coordinator.
Prior to coming to NEO, Landry had accepted a position as defensive analyst at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.
“I’ll also be coaching the linebacking group with the Golden Norsemen,” Landry said. “Right now we have 20 prospects vying for seven openings on our three linebacking positions.
“We hired two other guys on our defensive coaching staff,” Landry said. “Blake Bryan and Jameel Smith are new. Blake coaches our four defensive line positions and Jameel works with the secondary.
“That makes this a group effort by us three coaches to make sure all three positions are on the same page once we take the field,” Landry said. “We’ll do a lot of evaluations off of film, whether we’re at practice or in a scrimmage.”
Landry expects the staff to work closely together in making sure that the entire defense knows what their expectations will be.
“We’re looking for the guys that we think have the skill set and mentality to help was win a conference championship,” Landry said. “Even though both coaches just got here, it will be a joint effort.
“Blake has five years of experience and success at Trinity Valley Community College,” Landry said. “So he understands what type of player it takes to compete in the league.
“Jameel started in the defensive secondary last season at Youngstown (Ohio) State University,” Landry said. “He has a lot of comfort in what we’re doing defensively because it’s similar to what he played last year.”
“I am heavily involved in all three phases of our defense from the front to the back,” Landry said. “Even though I got here this spring, this past week was the first time we had been together on the grass as a coaching staff.”
Although the game of football has changed and become horizontal, Landry and his staff have a firm grasp of the concept.
“We’ve got to make sure that we find guys that can make tackles in open space,” Landry said. “Our linebackers have to be spot-on with their eyes because they are critical in what they’re seeing, how they’re seeing it and their reaction to that.
“When teams open us up and they get three, four or even five wides on the field, we’ll get into some other sub-packages and get some of our 220- and 230-pound linebackers off the field and let those safeties and corners do some things for us.
“We’re multiple in what we do and we want to make sure we match up with personnel and that we see what the opposition is trying to do,” Landry said. “The linebackers at this level have to react when it becomes a boxed game.”
Redshirt sophomore Lamontre Huval, along with veterans Dillon Hall and R.J. Goodman, provide Landry with experienced players from last season’s squad.
“We need guys who have the same vision as the coaching staff because the other players will look up to them as leaders,” Landry said. “They’ve done a really good job and it makes it fun to coach this group.”