MISSOULA — Montana's defense lost some key players from last year and is looking to fill some shoes. Defensive end Kale Edwards is one potential star with high expectations.
"I'm definitely expecting as much as I can out of myself," said the redshirt junior from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. "Hopefully getting a lot more reps, last year got a few but it was mostly special teams. I’m hoping to make more of a name for myself on the D-line."
While playing a more rotational role last year Edwards started to break out over the 11 games in which he got snaps, notching 24 tackles, two quarterback sacks, a forced fumble, and even a fumble returned for a touchdown against Indiana State. Now, he’s looking forward to applying all he’s learned from his predecessors to fulfilling a bigger role.
"Just experience from the guys that led before me," said Edwards. "Like (Jacob) McGourin, this last spring was his last with us. And then all the guys before that; Deari (Todd), 'Belkie' (Justin Belknap), (Joe) Babros, you know just learn from the seniors."
Griz coach Bobby Hauck is also looking forward to seeing Edwards on the field more and has confidence he can make his presence felt.
"It's about making plays, and he's done a good job for us over the last couple of years in terms of when he's been in the game, he's made plays," said Hauck. "And you know, we're hopeful that he can step it up and be consistent on the defensive side of the ball and that'd be good for the Grizzlies if he is."
As for what Edwards expectations are for the Griz this year following their second round playoff exit last season ...
"I think every year we get to a certain level, and I think we're only going to improve because the more opportunities we get somewhere the better chances you get, the more experience you have," said Edwards. "We've got a lot more guys that have experienced now playing in that game. And our coaches also they've gotten to experience it. So I think it's just going to be better for us, make us better team."