NATCHITOCHES After enduring a turnover drought last year, Northwestern Stateıs Purple Swarm defense is gearing up to turn the tables this season which makes for mixed emotions for head coach Scott Stoker in preseason practice. ³The good news is we did a good job of forcing turnovers today,² said Stoker after Sunday afternoonıs two-hour workout in shorts and shoulder pads. ³The bad news is we turned it over too much. ³No matter what, somebodyıs going to be doing poorly every day in that case,² he said. ³Considering how few turnovers we came up with last season, we have to make a big jump in the number we force this year." Last year, the Purple Swarm came up with only 17 turnovers in a 5-5 season. The 1.7 average was the lowest for Northwestern since team statistics are on file dating back to 1960. Stoker expects the defense to look more like the nationally-ranked Top 10 units in 2002, 2003 and 2004, even while facing the most challenging schedule in school history. One reason for his optimism is the Purple Swarmıs much-improved depth. ³Weıve got some prime time players (Preseason All-Americans Tory Collins and Ed Queen, preseason All-Southland Conference pick Charlie Brooks) up front on the defensive line, and weıve got some young guys who have redshirted and are now ready to contribute,² said Stoker. ³Albert Smith, Josh Daniels, Neal Walker could have good seasons and great careers for us.² The Demons were erratic in the passing game in Sundayıs 11-on-11 work, he said. ³Weıve got to pitch and catch more consistently than weıve done,² he said. ³Sometimes itıs a case of not throwing the ball well, and sometimes weıre not doing a good job catching it. Sometimes weıre throwing it to the wrong spot and sometimes we are not running the right route. Weıre three practices in, so itıs early, and I expect to see progress throughout this week before our first scrimmage Saturday.² Sundayıs special teams concentration came on kickoff coverage and returns. Stoker said kickers Robert Weeks and Lee Scott are battling to handle the kickoff duty while a bevy of players are in contention for return assignments, including senior Greg Skidmore, who led the SLC with a 24.6 average last year. The Demons resume practice in Turpin Stadium Monday morning at 8:15, beginning a weeklong series of morning sessions culminating with a Saturday morning scrimmage. They don full gear for the first time this preseason on Tuesday morning.