Josh Buss is everywhere.
Ever since his huge sack against Saint Francis two weeks ago, fans, sportswriters and Twitterers have rattled their brains to coin the most clever Buss pun (He got hit by a Buss, the Buss stops here, Josh Buss-ted through the line) they could think of.
The Montana pass rusher earned his first career start this season as a redshirt sophomore, and is already making noise. Against Northern Iowa last week, he and the Montana defense disrupted the read option multiple times and silenced quarterback Aaron Bailey for only 8 rushing yards.
What fans can’t see from the stands is Buss’ hairdo. The mohawk has become a source of pride for the linebacker and his teammates (depending on how into their looks they may be). But, seeing as Buss and teammate Connor Strahm have reloaded Montana’s acclaimed defense, it looks like the mohawk is here to stay. After all, 16 total tackles, three for a loss, 1 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble this early in the season speaks for itself.
The Missoulian talked to Buss about his new starring role in coach Jason Semore’s defense, what he’ll be working on this bye week and his love for AstroTurf.
And, of course, we had to know about the ‘do.
Q: How close are the linebackers?
A: We’re all pretty close. I hate (Connor) Strahm -- just kidding (laughs). We’re all really close. Group of younger guys, no seniors or anything. We kind of push each other. Strahm is one of the older guys in the group.
Q: Tell me about the mohawk man, you and Strahm both have them, what’s the deal with that?
A: Before we did the video introductions, we were kind of just messing around. We were going to shave our heads before, kind of clean up. Strahm wanted to do a mohawk and I was like, “If you do it, I’ll do it.” So we both did it, and convinced some of the other guys to do it.
Q: How did you convince the other guys to do it?
A: I really don’t know (laughs). Dante (Olson) was the one who did it and I really didn’t think he would. So he did it, and we kind of got it going.
Q: Does it bring a swagger to your team a little bit?
A: We thought we were trying to get the whole defense to do it, maybe bring in a little swagger, but it didn’t happen. Some of the guys weren’t feeling it.
Q: Why not?
A: They were too worried about how they looked for all the girls or something, I don’t know (laughs).
Q: Is it here to stay?
A: I think so. I think we’ll keep it going for the rest of the season.
Q: After lighting it up two weeks in a row, how does it feel being in the spotlight?
A: It’s been fun, really a great two weeks. It’s really about the team doing everything. It’s not just one person. Everyone’s doing their jobs, executing and making plays. It’s been an awesome experience and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.
Q: What’s working for you as a player?
A: I’m not a super heavy guy, or a super huge dude, so I try to use my speed as much as I can, whether it’s pass rushing or closing to the ball or something like that.
Q: How many hours a week do you spend game planning?
A: I don’t even know what to guess. A lot. These next two weeks, we have this bye week and next week to prepare so that’ll be really good. Film, on our own, with coaches, as a defense, total, going over the scouting reports, it pays off on Saturdays.
Q: What are you personally working on for this bye week?
A: Personally, just getting the mental side down of Cal Poly’s triple option. Body feels really good after that game; I’m real happy about that especially with that turf. Body feels really good. It’s more just the mental side of it, getting the game plan down so we can go into next Saturday and always know what we’re doing -- fly around and make plays.
Q: How was the AstroTurf to play on?
A: It was interesting. It was hard and not very forgiving.
Q: How was it not forgiving?
A: Every time you’re under a pile -- I’m not a big guy -- but you get under a big pile, it’s like laying on concrete. You dive or something and you bounce right off of it. Turf burns everywhere (motions to his arms). But for the most part, equipment staff provided us with the AstroTurf cleats. I prefer our turf, I guess.