BOZEMAN, Montana – Bobby daly is familiar with the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year award. He played with three Bobcats who won him, was coached by one and is linked with another. So the Montana State linebacker coach has special insight into the path that led to Troy andersen to Big Sky’s best defensive honor in 2021.
“I think a lot of people see his great ability as a football player and think it’s a gift from God,” said Daly, an All-America linebacker for the Bobcats himself. “What people don’t see is the work ethic. He is a very hardworking, intelligent and hardworking person who is willing to put in the time to get results on the ground. He is his most critical critic. He doesn’t care about the big plays he makes, he walks in and watches the movie and focuses on the mistakes he made in the game. That’s the quality common to all these guys. They expect big games, but mistakes eat into them. They want to improve every day. Troy fits that mold. “
Andersen became the eighth Bobcat to win Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year honors on Tuesday. He joins defensive end Brad Daly (2013), brother of Bobby, as well as linebacker Jody Owens (2012), defensive end Dane Fletcher (2009), outside linebacker Roger Cooper (2004), security and l former MSU linebacker coach Kane Ioane (2003), Corey Widmer (1990) and outside linebacker Mark Fellows (1984).
One thing Andersen doesn’t have in common with most of these previous MVPs was almost constant changes in position. After playing on offense for the Cats in first year and second year, he was Big Sky Freshman of the Year in 2017 as a running back and 1st Team All-Big Sky as quarterback in 2018 – moved to outside linebacker in 2019. This season he played middle linebacker.
According to the defensive coordinator of MSU Freddie banks, Andersen’s ability and willingness to move inside was like a key that unlocked the team’s defensive potential. “(This move) let’s play the style of defense that we wanted to play,” Banks said. “He’s playing very hard, very smart, he’s in the center of defense so he does all the controls for us. He’s definitely the most valuable player on our team in terms of defense. I think (the change in position ) was easy for him because he played the quarterback, so the transition wasn’t very difficult. And he’s a leader by nature, I think maybe he was born with that trait. . “
While making the most of the moment for Bobcat trainer Andersen Brent Vigen also easily understands the historical perspective. “His impact during his time here has been everywhere,” said Vigen. “It was on offense, it was on defense, it was in special teams, but this year we put him in to play a new position in a new space and he took it and ran with it. He led us in tackles and was second in the conference for tackles. “
It made sense that Andersen’s athleticism would make him a perfect middle linebacker in the MSU system, but Vigen said the tenacity and willingness to make physical plays is what pushed Andersen onto a career path of the year. “It’s a side-to-side game that he’s played (before), but it’s also a dirty game that he hasn’t had to play before,” Vigen said. “He performed really well that way. He was right off 10 TFL, two interceptions, he’s also the leader of our defense. In a league with so many good contenders, I’m happy to see him get this award. “
And Vigen also admired the way Andersen, who was not allowed to participate fully in the spring drills, conducted his business. “The way he attacked it without a spring ball, during the summer and in the fall camp he was learning on the fly, and what we saw was real progress on Saturday of him getting better and better. . I’m sure he would be the first to say he still has room to grow, but he attacked every opportunity he had to play as well as he could. “
BIG SKY DEFENSES OF THE YEAR FROM MONTANA STATE
2021: TROY ANDERSEN, linebacker (Dillon, MT)
2013: Brad daly, Defensive end (Helena, Montana)
2012: Jody owens, linebacker (Mesquite, Texas)
2009: Danish Fletcher, Defensive end (Bozeman, MT)
2004 : Roger cooper, linebacker (Port Orchard, Washington)
2003: Kane Ioane, Security (Billing, Montana)
1990 : Corey widmer, Defensive tackle (Bozeman, Montana)
1984: Mark scholarship recipients, Linebacker (Choteau, Montana)