As the Bobcats began to walk up the stands for their team photo at media day this afternoon, senior Preston Gale followed, walking to his spot with crutches.
Things seemed to be coming together for the Bobcats this week as players were slowly working out their early camp mistakes and the depth chart began to come together. But bad luck once again struck another starter on defense at the Bobcats final scrimmage last night.
As Preston Gale helped make a tackle on Jon Ellis his knee was pinned as players fell onto the pile and twisted his knee joint in a way it wasn't meant to bend. Gale immediately let out a yell and players took a knee as the stadium went silent.
"You know a guy like Preston, he works his butt off and this was his shot," said senior defensive end Brad Daly. "I'm not saying his shots over but it's a bummer."
"I mean these guys are our brothers," said junior linebacker Cole Moore. "You see these guys go down and we definitely feel for them. But at the same time injuries are part of this game so guys have to step up and it is what it is."
Head Coach Rob Ash announced this evening that Gale is expected to be out until mid-season with the MCL injury, a good sign after initial thoughts were a lost season.
This has been a tough off-season for the MSU defense with players having to step up since the first day of camp. Senior linebacker Na'a Moeakiola had shoulder surgery and will miss this season, as will fellow senior Aleksei Grosulak, who retired this off-season after battling numerous injuries.
"It started with the linebackers with Na'a and Aleksei Grosulak being out for the season so that was a devastating blow to our team early," said Ash. "The guys that have stepped in, Mike foster and Alex Singleton and Cole Moore have done an excellent job. I've got all the confidence in the world in those guys. But still we have to develop depth."
That means a young group has to step in and fill those rolls and the team believes they are ready.
"We talked to some of the twos last week and said you have to start to step up cause you never know when your time is gonna come," said defensive coordinator Jamie Marshall. "It's an advanced college scheme on defense. Yesterday was a big learning curve for them, but they'll get it and those reps yesterday will benefit them."
"Coming in as a freshman I think it's always difficult especially learning a new defense," said Moore. "College defense is a lot more complex than high school. They've definitely done a good job working in the film room and then coming out at practice and trying to get those mistakes corrected. They're definitely going in the right direction."
"We've got to be great teachers as a defensive staff and as a coaching staff," said Ash. "We've got to get these young guys knowing where they're supposed to go, where they're supposed to fit in the schemes. I think athletically they can get the job done but they just don't know yet where they're supposed to be so we've got to teach them that."
There will be many new faces to learn for Bobcat fans on the defense come August 29th, when the Bobcats kickoff their season in the Gold Rush game against Monmouth.