BOZEMAN — Defensive end Brody Grebe didn't have to look far to see the voids that need to be filled on Montana State's defense.
"The start of spring practice, you're looking for guys like Troy (Andersen), Chase (Benson), Amandre (Williams), Daniel (Hardy)," Grebe said. "All those awesome guys that left."
Gone is Andersen, the generational do-it-all linebacker who was as comfortable torpedoing his way into opposing offensive lines as he was shadowing receivers downfield.
And on the defensive line, gone are All-Americans Benson and Hardy as well as All-Big Sky player Williams.
For Grebe, a Melstone product who went down as one of the most talented athletes in Broncs history, he recognizes that, even as a sophomore, he'll be part of the old guard on the Bobcats' line this fall.
"On the D-Line I'm one of the older guys," he said. "Trying to be a leader and bring up the tempo for the D-Line and that's where it starts on defense."
If Grebe's production last season — primarily as a third-down pass rusher — was to be assigned a tempo, it would likely be vivace. As a freshman, The 6-foot-2, 232-pounder racked up 5.5 sacks to trail just Hardy and Williams on the Bobcats and place him at No. 13 in the Big Sky Conference.
Sebastian Valdez, who was also a freshman defensive lineman last season, was behind Grebe with 3.5 sacks.
Grebe anticipates seeing more first and second-down action this season.
"I need to be able to take reps first through third down and make my game better there," he said. "That's how I'm gonna rise to the top of our league if I can."
An exceptional group of players are graduating from Montana State's defense. There's a lot of pieces to replace, but in that Grebe sees a chance for opportunity and for he and his teammates to pick up the mantle.
"We got to ring the bell, that's our D-Line thing," Grebe said. "We had two guys come out, two All-Americans, All-Big Sky. When you have guys like that leaving the progrma you gotta find players that'll step up. And we got some guys that are playing pretty well right now."