Montana Grizzlies’ defense will lean on big guys up front

MISSOULA – The Montana Grizzlies have had a run of star defensive linemen. As they head into another season, they’ll need a few more. With questions at linebacker and in the secondary, the Griz will lean on the guys up front.

They have plenty of good options, led by a potential breakout star Jesse Sims. The man now wearing the legacy No. 37 moves back out to defensive end after starting as a sophomore last year on the inside. With fellow 270-plus pounder Reggie Tilleman at the other end, the Griz have size across the front, nowhere more than 6-foot-5, 319-pound tackle David Shaw.

Coach Bobby Hauck expects big things from the first wave of his D.

“Ultimately we need those guys to get after it and kind of lead our defense,” said the head coach. “And early on I think there are some signs that that will happen.”

“We move really well, which is going to help us a lot,” said Sims. “Being able to run to the ball all of the time, not come off the ball, fit up, and then just stop right there. We want to chase the ball every play, and make that something that is part of our defensive line.”

“Honestly just the intensity. Everybody is athletic, quick. But the main thing I care about is everyone is into it and intense,” added Shaw. “That makes it fun to play with.”

The defensive line has already made its presence felt with some batted balls and pressure in team drills.

Derek Buerkle

Derek Buerkle

Derek has worked in sports at KPAX-TV in Missoula since 2007. He grew up in Big Timber, Montana, and attended the University of Montana journalism program.
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