St. Cloud State junior linebacker Todd Bestgen should see plenty of time this season. Bestgen hopes to play middle linebacker behind Mark Martin and could see time at outside linebacker. Here’s a question-and-answer session I did with the Rochester native last week:
Q: What are your expectations for yourself this season?
A: The main part for me is to go out there and have fun. Last year it was about learning from the older guys and getting a chance to play inside and outside. This year I’m learning to bring the presence that (former SCSU linebacker) Thomas Gruis brought with him. It was nice looking up to him and getting a feel for how he did things. I’m excited. I’m expecting us to come out here to win. That’s all there is to it.
Q: Where do you expect to see more time, in the middle or the outside?
A: I don’t know what the coaches want with the outside spot. I definitely expect to play in the middle. I know both. I’m fine with either one. I love our third-down blitz package. I’m focusing on the middle throughout camp. I’m trying to get it down.
Q: How much do you like playing in this defense?
A: No. 1, it’s fast. I’m not the biggest linebacker obviously, but we’re fast and we fly to the ball. We have great energy. We’re going to fly to the ball all the time. We’re not going to sit back.
Q: Do you have a good mix of of youth and expereince on the defense?
A: It’s nice getting older so the younger guys can start asking you questions (said with a laugh). We have a great group of linebackers. They’re spending extra time learning. It just takes time to learn.
Q: How much have you improved since you arrived here in 2009?
A: Tremendously. I’ve become more confident, especially over this last year. It just comes with playing the game. You get to go out and play with all these great players that we bring in. Everybody is making plays out here in fall camp.
Q: Does fall camp get easier or harder as you get older?
A: I like to think it gets easier, but it stays the same. You just come out here and it’s a grind. You go 100 percent, balls to the wall with the reps that you get. You take a little break and go on to the next day.
Q: What are your goals for yourself this year?
A: Be more of a presence and be more of a leader. I want to be around the ball at all times. That’s my approach. I expect everyone to have the same one.
Q: How much did last year’s playing time help you for this season?
A: I learned that I’m not the biggest guy on the field anymore. I’m definitely smaller, but I have to use that to my advantage. I have to use my speed. Last year was nice and it was fun following in Thomas Gruis’ footsteps. He was a great guy. This year I’m looking to be that guy who people can look up to. I want to help the younger guys as much as I can.