Montana State's defensive line has the tough task this season of trying to live up to some high standards set by former Bobcats Brad Daly and Caleb Schreibeis, winners of the last two Buck Buchanan awards. The defensive line is now under the microscope with the possibility of winning the award for a third straight year.
The Buchanan award is given to the best defensive player in the FCS each season. The question for MSU's defense this year is, can they replace Brad Daly's production on the edge this season, a question the defense feels they get about different players every single year.
"Each year that goes by, it's like 'man, what are you gonna do without Minter up the middle," said junior defensive lineman Taylor Sheridan. "What are you gonna do without Schreibeis on the side?' A lot of it is coach Beck. He knows how to teach everybody and use what they have to their benefits."
The Bobcats are loaded with veteran seniors in the secondary and at linebacker, making for a strong defense that the defensive lineman feel could make them one of the best defenses in the Big Sky.
"We always talk in the defense room this is a defensive team," said junior defensive lineman Odin Coe. "So we're coming out with the mentality that we need to be the best in the conference."
"You see a lot of leadership coming from these guys, which is pretty awesome," Sheridan said. "You know, you got dudes that speak out when things need to be said and it's nice to see on my end, because they buy me all the time in the world up front."
The season opener is less than two weeks away, but the defensive line is balking at the notion of a Buchanan three peat before they even take a snap this season.
"We haven't really thought about it to much," Coe said. "Obviously we're gonna play to the best of our abilities, that was those other two guys mindsets as well and if we're recognized and we get that award, awesome. But if not, we're gonna do our best regardless."
"Now that we've seen it done, we know it can be done," Sheridan said. "Last year Daly started to shine, obviously. So it was kind of like, within the whole defense, to do what we could to get him there. So even if it's not on the defensive line this year, if it's a linebacker or a safety or somebody, we're gonna do what we can for whoever it is to get there, because it would be pretty cool to have three in a row."