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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Linebacker wears many belts

    Junior linebacker Dane Krogstad wraps up NAU wide receiver Kory Mahr during Arizonas 31-12 victory last September at Arizona Stadium. Krogstad, who missed six games last season, has recorded nine tackles in two games this year.
    Junior linebacker Dane Krogstad wraps up NAU wide receiver Kory Mahr during Arizona’s 31-12 victory last September at Arizona Stadium. Krogstad, who missed six games last season, has recorded nine tackles in two games this year.

    No, Dane Krogstad’s not a boxer. But he does have more than a few championship belts to his name.

    And in order to get those “”belts””, the

    junior strong-side linebacker – known as the very definition of a “”laid-back guy”” – has to have a bit of a competitive streak.

    “”We’re real competitive with each other – golf and racquetball, basketball – I mean anything,”” said Spencer Larsen, who plays opposite Krogstad on the weakside. “”We’ve got belts and titles. I’ve got golf and I’ve got – he’s got racquetball, and basketball doesn’t count … because last time we played, we didn’t finish.

    “”I was winning,”” Larsen added. “”I should have two.””

    At least until you ask the Guerneville, Calif., native Krogstad.

    “”No, he’s – no, no, no, no,”” he said, laughing. “”I think ‘Spence’ has one. He has golfing, that’s it. And I got ping-pong.

    “”And what else do I got? I got horse, I got racquetball,”” he added, pausing as he jogged his memory. “”Yeah, so he has one, he has one – oh and I have bowling, too. So it’s four to one right now. He doesn’t have two.””

    Though there’s no physical belt as a reward, the two make competitions out of everything – everything, ironically, except for football.

    “”Anything we can find to make it into a competition, we do it,”” Krogstad said. “”We just say whoever wins got the championship belt, and then (the winner) can go around talking trash about it.””

    But if there were a football belt between the two – or the linebacking corps, for that matter – and it revolved around versatility, Krogstad would take it after having to play all three positions last season on an injury-ravaged unit.

    “”It was hard because they’re all so different in their own ways,”” Krogstad said of having to play the “”Sam”” (strong side), “”Mike”” (middle) and “”Will”” (weakside) positions. “”You know, ‘Sam,’ you’re playing up on the tight end, and you’re outside in the flats. ‘Mike,’ you’re in the middle – and everything changes. That was pretty hard to do.””

    Added Tim Kish, Krogstad’s position coach: “”I think he’ll be the first one to admit he wasn’t really that keen about playing on the inside cause you’ve got people hitting you from the right and the left, and when you’re outside, you can see kind of everything in front of you.””

    But that “”injury-ravaged”” applied to Krogstad more than he would have liked, as he missed more than six games due to shoulder and knee injuries after starting with a bang last season.

    In the opening game against Utah, Krogstad had a career-high 15 tackles and followed it with eight tackles the following week against NAU before injuring his shoulder.

    “”It’s tough when you’re having a great season like that, and he was about to put himself on the map,”” Larsen said.

    Krogstad returned two weeks later against California after missing a 31-24 loss to then-No. 12 Purdue. But after just two healthy weeks, he was back on the shelf again after hurting his knee in a loss to then-No. 1 USC.

    “”I mean, he was real disappointed about that because he started out with a good season, and it could’ve turned out to be a great season for him,”” said Krogstad’s roommate, offensive tackle Peter Graniello. “”He didn’t get his head down or anything, he just rehabbed his injuries and tried to get back and made the best out of it.””

    Early this season, the schemes employed to stop the Brigham Young passing attack relegated the easygoing Krogstad mostly to kickoff coverage, yet he still wound up with two tackles.

    This past week, seeing action against a run-first Louisiana State squad, Krogstad had seven tackles and also forced a fumble.

    “”As far as athleticism and speed and strength,”” Larsen said, “”he’s the best linebacker we have.””

    Added Kish: “”He has good knowledge of what’s going on in our defense. He’s well aware of what’s happening to the right and left of him, which is what a good defender does, but his passion to play the game is really the thing that inspires all of us.””

    That passion, however, is left on the field.

    “”He’s just a laid-back guy,”” Graniello said. “”He just likes to hang out, play video games – stuff like that.

    “”He’s not too much of a ball of energy.””

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