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Veteran linebacker group leading young Montana Western defense

Posted at 2:53 PM, Aug 19, 2018

DILLON — Montana Western has a largely inexperienced group on the defensive side of the ball. However, head coach Ryan Nourse knows there’s one unit that he can count on.

“Our linebackers. Our linebackers have played a lot of football,” Nourse said. “We need those guys to be really strong and set the tempo for us on defense with their attitude, their aggression, with their speed of play. They’re doing a great job up to this point.”

The experienced group of linebackers is taking it upon themselves to get the younger guys ready both physically and mentally during camp. Fifth-year senior Riley Martello is not only the vocal leader but leads by example with his tireless work ethic.

“We’ve just got to make sure everybody is locked in during practice, during meetings, all that kind of stuff, just so we know we’re in the right spot at the right time all fall camp,” Martello said. “We’re just working on little things right now. Assignment, technique, alignment, all that stuff is huge. You worry about the bigger stuff down the road.”

“We’re just getting after it, man,” fellow linebacker Kyle Schulte said. “We’re making sure that they’re locked in, we’re locked in, that they’re paying attention in meetings, in practice and that they’re getting mental reps whenever they can.”

It’s a bit of a transition year for the Bulldogs’ defense, as they lost a handful of starters from last year’s team. But Western expects a fast and athletic defense to swarm opposing offenses.

Flying to the ball has been a point of emphasis for Nourse and the coaching staff throughout fall camp.

“I think we’re going to be active. We’re going to be very fast, young, inexperienced in some spots, but very athletic,” Nourse said. “And I think really confident and aggressive guys, so we’re really excited in that area. We’ve got some really good leaders over there.”

“I just want us to be flying around, man, everybody around the ball,” Schulte said, echoing the sentiments of his coaches. “Tackling everything, tackling, tackling, tackling, just getting after offenses.”