Hauck not surprised by Olson’s hot start
One week after earning Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week in Montana’s opener versus Northern Iowa, defensive end Dante Olson found a way to outdo himself.
With a career-high 16 tackles in Week’s 2 outing versus Drake – plus a pair of sacks, a forced fumble and a pass breakup – the redshirt junior earned not only a repeat of the conference accolades, but was named FCS STATS National Defensive Player of the Week for the first time.
With a long history of headlining linebackers at Montana, head coach Bobby Hauck said he’s not shocked by Olson’s success.
“Nobody in our locker room, either coach or players, is surprised,” Hauck said bluntly at Monday’s meeting with the media.
Montana has a long history of replacing its standout players without much of a hiccup. Groups like Adam Hoge, Joel Robinson and Brent Meyers passed on the tradition of the Griz linebackers to Tyler Joyce, Kyle Ryan and Loren Utterback. That group gave way to Shawn Lebsock, Brandon Fisher and Alex Shaw who then passed the torch to Caleb McSurdy.
Then came Brock Coyle, Jordan Tripp and John Kanongta’a and, more recently under previous head coach Bob Stitt, Kendrick Van Ackeren, Jermiah Kose and Herbert Gamboa.
But with the loss of prolific tackler James Banks and hard-hitter Connor Strahm this past season, that history didn’t do much to quell concerns about who would flank All-American Josh Buss in new defensive coodinator Kent Baer’s defense.
Enter Olson, who spent two previous years at Montana as a special teams standout, winning Montana’s Hauck Family Special Teams Player of the Year twice. And now on the D line, he’ll head into Saturday’s game at Western Illinois with 29 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, an interception and a forced fumble.