With an extra week to prepare for the defending Frontier Conference champions, Carroll College knows they have their hands full with Montana Tech.
Number one on Carroll’s priority list is stopping Nolan Saraceni. In two matchups last season, the running back totaled 424 yards and six touchdowns in two Diggers’ wins.
“You can’t catch him,” Carroll College head coach Mike Van Diest said. “He’s powerful. He breaks tackles. We had guys diving at his legs last year like we were afraid to tackle.”
So, what’s the game plan against the NAIA leading rusher from last year?
“We’ve got to be able to rally around him,” Van Diest said. “We’ve got to be able to set the edge. Have better leverage and hope that guy is coming inside out in support can help tackle him because one guy is not going to bring him down.”
One of those guys Coach Van Diest is referring to is senior outside linebacker Jack Konen, who said the game plan isn’t much different from a year ago.
“It’s about the same,” Konen said. “Just a couple of more guys looking at me to make a play, but we need everyone to make a play.”
Carroll can’t give all their attention Saraceni, quarterback Quinn McQueary returns from injury and last season he tallied a combined 285 yards a touchdown.
“We can’t just load nine or 10 guys in the box because they are going to through the football,” Van Diest said. “They’ve got good receivers they’ve been talking about all year.”
If the defense can stop the two-headed monster, it’s likely they’ll deliver Carroll’s first victory of the season.