BOZEMAN -- A year ago, Troy Andersen was throwing passes for Montana State, but the former starting quarterback has moved to the linebacker room this season.
Even though he set school records under center last year and helped lead MSU to the FCS playoffs, the move was Andersen’s decision.
“Coach (Jeff) Choate and I just had a conversation after the season. He was like, ‘Where do you want to play?’ And I said I’d love to play defense if possible. And so they kind of gave me that choice there a little bit, which I really appreciated. So yeah, now I’m on defense,” Andersen said.
But there’s a learning curve in his new role.
“I’d say just kind of getting my pass rush down," Andersen said when asked what has been the biggest adjustment being back at linebacker. "Being on offense for a while, you kind of get out of it. And so reading the offensive line, reading your keys and then transitioning to a pass rush.”
Andersen has played quarterback, running back and linebacker for Montana State. But he will do anything to win, a trait ingrained in him by his hometown Dillon.
“It kind of goes back to how I was raised, how my high school coaches were. It’s always like a team-first thing -- it’s not a selfish sport, it’s a team sport. You need everybody on the team contributing in any way they can to win games. So if I can do that in anyway I can, I’m happy to do it,” he said.
Bobcat head coach Jeff Choate said linebacker is where Andersen belongs, but he isn’t taking Andersen fully out of the offense.
“I think it’s Troy’s natural position, I really believe that, but I think he’s such a unique, special talent that we have to make other teams defend him," said Choate. "We’re going to do what we have to do to win and if that means (Andersen) is carrying the ball, (Andersen) is carrying the ball.”
Andersen changes the landscape of a game whenever he steps on the field, whether he’s taking snaps under center or making tackles.
“He’s fun to watch. I would hope that we sell out a lot of games because they are only going to be able to see him for two more years. It’s kind of like what happened when we had Tyler Hall here," said Choate. "You’re looking at one of the most prolific scorers in Big Sky history and you have a chance to see him a couple nights a week, you better show up because it’s not going to be there forever. And I think Troy is that kind of player, he kind of transcends the game.”