This is the sixth in a series of positional previews for Carroll College, a run of stories that will run through the team's season opener Aug. 31 at Montana Tech.
Two new faces will be at the outside linebacker spot for the Saints this season.
Parker Bernhardt, a sophomore who shifted over from safety, will be playing the Sam position, playing on the strong side of the line. The other side will see 6-foot-1, 225-pound sophomore Craig Kein and Alex Thomas splitting a lot of snaps as the bandit backer. The two have both proven to be athletic and capable of pass rushing and taking on some pass coverage responsibilities.
“We’re still unsure of the backups right now,” Saints coach Mike Van Diest said Monday, as the football team practiced at Vigilante Stadium ahead of Thursday night’s season opener.
Bernhardt saw some playing time behind outside linebacker Ty Irving last season. Bernhardt played in seven games and recorded 13 total tackles and registered one interception. Kein also made appearances in seven games, recording 16 tackles.
The mainstays of the linebacker corps are second team all-conference selection David Anderson and Reece Quade, who were second and third in tackles last season, respectively. Anderson had 75 total tackles, including eight for a loss and a fumble recovery. Quade registered 66, including 8.5 for a loss and two sacks. Quade and Anderson played and started in every game a season ago, giving them 10 games of experience to shepherd the new backers.
Carroll’s two-deep shows Tyler Matteucci and Dylan Kresge as the initial back up middle linebackers, both out of Helena High. Matteucci is a 6-foot-2, 216-pound redshirt freshman and Kresge is listed at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds as a sophomore.
Beyond that, Van Diest said Chase Bowen, a sophomore out of Idaho, has shifted from outside linebacker to inside, and is likely to be an impact player when he gets his snaps.
“Chase was outside a year ago and really wasn’t comfortable there but has done a great job at inside backer since we moved him there last spring,” Van Diest said.
Other names that could pop up are Idaho all-state linebacker Erik Haun. The freshman has impressed early on, though it’s unclear if he will redshirt this season or backup the linebacking corps.
Linebackers listed on Carroll’s roster also include Kolby Killoy (redshirt freshman), Thomas Robitaille (freshman), Nate McGree (freshman), Ken Roth (freshman), Archie Petritz (freshman), Dylan Piva (sophomore), Walker Ray (senior), Jackson Griffin (redshirt freshman) and Hunter Mycke (freshman).
The Saints face Montana Tech to open up the season on Thursday under the lights in Butte at 7 p.m.