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Montana State's defense to feature more active secondary

Montana State's Tyrel Thomas defends teammate
Posted at 10:17 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 12:24:58-04

BOZEMAN — Head coach Brent Vigen isn’t all that’s new with the Montana State football program this season.

Along with their new offensive approach, the Bobcats' defense will feature a much more active secondary.

“It just reminds me of a swarm to the ball honestly, sideline to sideline," Bobcats senior cornerback Tyrel Thomas said. "We actually kind of spread the defense a little bit more. That’s what you're going to see a lot more of, is players actually swarming to the ball.”

With Vigen at the reins and Freddie Banks as the team’s new defensive coordinator, the Bobcats are transitioning from a zone defense to more man-to-man coverage.

“A lot of us never played a defense like this before," Thomas added. "I played it when I was in high school, so I’m a little familiar with it.”

"Outside of Tyrel, we don’t really have a whole lot of guys that have started in a Bobcat uniform, and so this spring period has definitely been good to get some young guys some reps," Bobcats defensive backs coach Kyle Risinger explained.

But through the growing pains of a new defensive scheme, Vigen said the secondary has impressed him the most through the first few weeks of spring ball.

“I know one of the big things that has always been a coaching point of mine is trying to be the standard of the team," Risinger said. "I tell our guys that the success of our team will be determined by the success of our unit. If we don’t let people get behind us and score, we’re a pretty good football team.”

To go hand-in-hand with their more active secondary approach, you can expect them to get a little more physical as well.

“DBs sometimes -- right, wrong or indifferent -- get the moniker as guys just want to cover, and Coach Banks and I both value having a physical secondary," Risinger said. "Those are the best secondaries.”

Montana State will put its new defense to the test at the Sonny Holland Classic set for Saturday, April 24.