Opponents lining up across from Dan Schutte may have good reason to fear for their safety this season.
“Our No. 1 goal this year is to be the No. 1 defence in the country, No. 1 sacks in the country — it’s going to be absolutely ruthless,” says the Saint Mary’s Huskies defensive tackle. “There is no exception to being the best.”
The five-foot-11, 275-pound native of Red Deer, Alta., speaks on behalf of a defence that has had many of its key components in place for three years under the same co-ordinator, Danny Laramee.
Schutte, who was a second-team all-Canadian as a sophomore in 2008, is looking to make up for lost time after missing much of his third season with a torn meniscus in his knee and a torn calf muscle.
“My intensity is going to be tenfold this year,” says Schutte.
“I’ve got to squeeze two years into one … and it’s going to happen.”
Schutte attempted to play through the torn meniscus against the Calgary Dinos in the Uteck Bowl but proceeded to tear his calf muscle shortly after opening kickoff.
That left Huskies head coach Steve Sumarah severely short-handed in his bid to stop Hec Crighton-winning quarterback Erik Glavic and the nation’s best rushing attack.
“In terms of having to block him one-on-one … it’s near impossible,” Sumarah says. “Not having him hurt us big time.”
Although defence has been one of the Huskies’ long-standing strengths, the unit is looking to take it to yet another level to get back to the Vanier Cup after back-to-back setbacks in the national semifinals.
“The last two years we’ve come way too close to it and it’s just been driving me crazy,” Schutte says. “Expectations are extremely high.”