HELENA — If you look around a Carroll College football practice, you are guaranteed to see new faces at nearly every position.
There’s a new quarterback battling for the starting job.
There will be some new bodies at running back.
There are even some new names on the defensive line.
But hanging back in the secondary is a trio of defensive backs that includes Isazah King, Matt Kvech, Brian FauntLeRoy and Parker Stenersen that have played together for the better part of three seasons.
They know their skill level and they know their experience. Now, the seniors look to keep the Saints defense atop the Frontier Conference.
"When they are in I feel pretty comfortable that we are all going to be on the same page," Carroll defensive coordinator Pat Haynes said. "I know they can be the backbone of the defense and are going to get it right."
Last season, the secondary ranked first in pass defense, allowing 2,335 yard and just 12 touchdowns through the air.
“We all vibe and fit together pretty well,” Kvech said. “We are always hanging out on and off the field. We always try to find each other, even when we aren’t playing football.”
Whether they are together or apart, each brings their own personality with him.
Kvech describes himself as the quiet leader. He played in eight games last season and had one pass break up.
“I just want to do my job and make sure everyone is doing theirs,” Kvech said.
Next to him is Stenersen and FauntLeRoy, who doesn’t have as much experience as their fellow upperclassmen. The Idaho Falls native appeared in just two games, but Kvech knows his potential once the season starts.
“They will come into their own,” Kvech said. “I’m sure of it.”
And then there is King, or ‘Zah’, as his teammates call him.
King led the returning defensive backs with 39 tackles and a 1.5 for -5.5 yards.
“He has a big personality,” Kvech said. “He’s going to let you know he is out there for sure. He is a big time player.”
While the three defensive backs know each other well, they had to learn a new defense that transitioned from a 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 scheme.
In the end, the change actually worked out to the defensive backs' strengths.
“It’s much more simplified,” King said. “I feel like it allows us to play faster.”
Carroll finished last season in the middle of the Frontier Conference with 12 interceptions and King said the sped up defense could allow for more this season.
“Our main idea for this defense is called 'Shock D,’” King said. “It’s supposed to shock the offense by how hard and how fast we are playing. We are getting our calls in a lot faster, which means players are in the right position, making their checks so we can think less on the field.”
King will primarily play corner back this season, but will also provide senior leadership to the secondary.
It’s players such as freshman Zach Spiroff he is taking under his wing.
“He’s going to all of us this year,” King said. “He’s young and has room and time to make mistakes, but he will be in this system the next four or five years, so he will keep getting better from this point on.”
After all, King, Kvech and Stenersen remember a time they were freshmen, and now look how close they are.