MISSOULA -- The heart of the defense is the front seven, with their defensive line and linebackers, the second of those two groups which showed marked improvement from a year ago.
"Addison Owen came along very well, worked on his tackling, coverage, and mostly his mental aspect, Jeremiah got more reps with Brock being down, and that might have been blessing in disguise so that when we get into the season, we can roll one sand twos and not have a drop-off and have a deeper season like we plan on having," says Griz senior linebacker Jordan Tripp.
Then with the big fellas up front, the defensive line hopes to play two deep, with a crop of true freshman who competed last year looking to become a dominant group as sophomores.
"I mean, we've all known each other since we came here, and it's been a great experience getting to know them, and on the field, I mean we're all brothers, from the oldest guys to us, it's such a tightly knit group, it's a nice experience," says Griz sophomore defensive tackle Caleb Kidder.
The younger lineman haven't been in Missoula for a full calendar year, but they already look little bigger.
"Both me and Tyrone (Holmes)have gained weight, (Zach) Peevy has gained weight, he's looking good, and RyanJohnson has come along way since fall camp, so we've all improved through winter conditioning," says Kidder.
Now that Spring ball has commenced and the summer is just around the corner, for the Griz, it comes down to keeping their heads on straight, and being smart.
"A lot of that in my mind is from a mental aspect, film study and weight room, just preparing like you did last year, not changing anything from what you learned and how you got to that point, you can't take your foot off the gas you have to keep rolling and I think that will pay dividends for us down the road, as far as making mental and physical mistakes out on the field," says Tripp.