- Defensive Ends -
The good: All of the starters return from last year. Jeff Van Orsow (pictured on the right) and Joe Lemma have a year of starting under their belts and have a clear understanding of what they must do to improve from a year ago. Van Orsow is a student of the game with a great work ethic who is constantly working on his technique.
Joe Rudulph is a physical specimen with good a blend of speed and quickness. Victor Butler proved to be a difference maker on special teams and his role will certainly expand this year on defense. JUCO transfer Dorian Smith is set to arrive and with him comes badly needed speed from the edge.
The bad: All of the starters return from last year that grabbed just fours sacks. Lemma is better suited for a backup role where he can make a difference in limited playing time but cannot sustain a high level play as a starter. Rudulph did play that much, but when he did it was sporadic. At this point, Jeff Kruskamp faces an uphill battle for playing time.
The question: Will the defensive ends improve on their total four sacks from a year ago?
Riley says: "This is an area where we have good solid people returning and we've added some junior college players to our roster that will help."
- Junior Jeff Kruskamp
- moved to defensive end from tight end last year, two tackles, one for loss
- Junior Joe Rudulph
- strong and quick off of the line, but inconsistent, will get another shot
to prove himself in '06
- Junior Jeff Van
Orsow - 31 tackles, has a lot to prove after a disappointing sophomore
- Senior Joe Lemma
- 31 tackles, undersized but effective as a backup
- Junior Dorian
Smith - quick first step, expected to enroll for spring term and
grab a starting spot
- Sophomore Victor Butler - motivated playmaker, could work his way into a starting role or the two deeps, excellent on special teams, three tackles
- Defensive Tackles -
The good: Ben Siegert (pictured on the left) and Curtis Coker both return after serving in backup roles, but saw plenty of time on the field. Siegert is far removed from his shoulder injury and is looking to make an all-conference team. Coker is a up and comer whose time has come to contribute. William Vea redshirted last year after transferring from the JUCO ranks and the coaches expect big thing from him. Pernell Booth is coming of of his redshirt season and with the depth chart clear, he is ready help out. Help is also coming in the fall when JUCO Gerard Lee arrives on campus.
The question: Can the players continue the strong run stopping tradition?
Riley says: "Ben is a good player and I expect him to be a leader for our line. We’ve helped ourselves via the junior college ranks, but we also have quality players in the program who will step up and make contributions. I think Curtis and Ben will play a big part there in the future. We have two guys — Pernell Booth and William Vea — who will step into the picture.”
- Senior Ben Siegert
- 18 tackles, 4.5 for loss, three sacks and three fumble recoveries, talented
enough to make an all-conference team
- Junior William
Vea - redshirted last year, coaches are excited about his development
- Sophomore Pernell
Booth - redshirted and ready to make Montana proud
- Junior Curtis Coker - nine stops and one sack in limited action, role will expand in 2006
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