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Montana Grizzlies position preview: Depth on the defensive line expected to play a big role this season

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Posted at 5:26 PM, Aug 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-20 10:23:32-04

MISSOULA — With Griz football starting back up in 2 1/2 weeks, Montana’s defense is expected be a force once again. Even with new faces on the defensive line, expectations are still high for this position group.

"Well we lost two seniors (Justin Belknap and Joe Babros) that played a lot for us but everybody else is back," said Montana Griz head coach Bobby Hauck. "And I think the performance during fall camp has been encouraging, so I’m excited about that."

Even with shoes left to fill on the defensive line, the standards haven’t changed.

"We’re gonna have to see," said Hauck. "You know we’re gonna play here soon and we expect those guys to perform, and the better they play, the better our defense is going to be."

As younger players step up, coach Hauck is happy with the depth he’s seen.

"I like the depth," Hauck said confidently. "We’re real believers in playing into our depth on defense, probably seven to eight guys that roll through on the defensive line and play pretty much an equal number of snaps."

A gameplan expected to keep opposing offenses on their toes and something the younger players are looking forwards to.

"I’m definitely excited about it," said redshirt sophomore defensive end Jacob McGourin. "I think I’m ready for it and practices have been going well and I’m just trying to keep growing and keep getting better at what I’m doing so it’s feeling good right now."

In his short time as a Griz, McGourin knows the expectation for himself and his fellow D-linemen.

"Do our best to win games," said McGourin. "I think everybody sees how crazy the defense plays and it’s a fun group to play for and be part of so I think just keeping that going and improving on what we already have."

As fall camp has progressed, the intensity has as well.

"We’re kind of in work mode right now at fall camp, you know everyday kind of like Groundhog Day," said redshirt junior defensive tackle Alex Gubner. "You know we’re coming in and grinding and competing and you know trying to better our crafts."

Work that in Gubner’s eye’s is paying off.

"The defense as a whole, I mean, I think we got one of the best defenses in the country," stated Gubner. "I think we’ve been at that level for a long time."

High praise from the redshirt junior who’s seen his fair share of Griz football.

"I think we’ve made a lot of progress the past three years," said Gubner. "Kinda getting back to where we wanna be and just looking forward to seeing our defense you know fly around and make plays.

Griz defensive ends, tackles, and linemen on the 2022 roster by number

Defensive Ends
No. 0, Kale Edwards, R-SO, 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, Coeur d'Alene, ID
No. 50, Deari Todd, R-SR, 6-foot-2, 272 pounds, Lorain, OH
No. 55, Alex Hurlburt, R-SO, 6-foot-3, 242 pounds, Salem, OR
No. 56, Garret Hustedt, R-SO, 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Omaha, NE
No. 59, Corby Mann, R-FR, 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, Red Lodge, MT
No. 69 Noah Kaschmitter, SO, 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Grangeville, ID
No. 92, Jacob McGourin, R-SO, 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, Cheney, WA

Defensive Tackles
No. 91, Eli Alford, SR, 6-foot-1, 290 pounds, Park City, Utah
No. 99 Alex Gubner, R-JR, 6-foot-3, 285 pounds, West Hills, CA

Defensive Line
No. 42, Ben McGourin, FR, 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Cheney WA
No. 47, Kellen Detrick, R-FR, 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Havre, MT
No. 48, Zac Evans, R-FR 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Helena, MT
No. 53, Braunson Henriksen, FR, 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Polson, MT
No. 90, Jareb Ramos, FR, 6-foot-4, 273 pounds, Centennial, CO
No. 93, Sloan McPherson, R-FR, 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Savage, MT
No. 95, Dylan Smith, R-FR, 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Whitehall, MT
No. 96, Henry Nuce, SO, 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, Kalispell, MT