Kadavy playing a big role for Mesa State defense again
Mesa State’s rise toward the top of the RMAC football standings last year had a lot to do with defense.
Although All-American Kurt Kissner was the leader, several others played a key role, including linebacker Ryan Kadavy.
The 6-foot, 220-pound senior from Greeley is playing a big role again this year, leading the Mavericks with 23 tackles.
“He has a super motor,” Mesa State coach Joe Ramunno said. “When it’s go time, he’s going. He’s got all the things, but not overwhelming. He has decent speed and strength. The biggest thing he’s got is the desire to get it done.”
Kadavy isn’t the biggest or fastest guy on the defense. He’s not even the biggest or fastest linebacker, but he is always one of the top tacklers.
“I’m a game player,” Kadavy said. “I don’t have the fastest 40, but my game speed is up there.
“I might come across as boisterous. I hope I don’t. I’m just trying to have fun. All I want to do is win.”
Kadavy has played a big part getting the Mavericks back to being a winning program after redshirting during the dismal 0-11 2004 season.
“A lot of guys left that year,” Kadavy said. “There was a lot of talk about leaving. A lot of guys tried to talk me into it, but the guys I played with are a lot of my good friends. I don’t think I had as good of friends in high school and Coach (Bill) Stafford is the man.”
Ramunno knew Kadavy would be a key player in the rebuilding process.
“He’s been a great one for us,” Ramunno said. “He caused problems for us the entire year (in practice) trying to block him.
We knew he’d be a good one for us then.”
The next year, Kadavy made an immediate impact as the Mavericks began their climb out of the cellar. He made 74 tackles (third on the team) and led the team in tackles for lost yardage (12). Mesa finished 5-6 that season.
As a sophomore, he led the team with 92 tackles.
Last year, the Mavericks made some changes. Darin Robidoux moved from offensive coordinator to defensive coordinator and changed the scheme to a 3-4 base.
“When Robidoux became the defensive coordinator, it was a good change,” Kadavy said. “The defensive scheme was simplified.”
The change led to one of the best seasons for the defense in school history as the Mavericks made the NCAA Division II playoffs for only the third time in school history, finishing 10-2.
The Mavericks finished among the national leaders in total yards allowed and Kadavy was a big reason. The All-RMAC linebacker was second on the team in tackles with 81. He had 2.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for lost yardage.
Kadavy is one of seven returning defensive starters from that team and one of three Mesa preseason All-RMAC defensive players this season, but the Mavericks haven’t been as stingy.
A lot of it has to do with their nonconference competition, but Kadavy believes they can be just as salty as last year.
“If we can eliminate the big plays, we’d be allowing half the yards,” Kadavy said. “We’ve got to be making plays, not giving them up. There have been some third-and-long plays that have killed us.”
Kadavy’s football career, though, comes to an end this season. Although he’s preparing for life after football, he admits it will be hard.
“I try not to think about it,” Kadavy said. “It will be hard when it comes. My body is about done with it. I’m feeling a lot older
than four years ago.”
The business management major might follow his dad’s footsteps into real estate, but also is considering construction management.
“I’m thinking about taking some construction management courses,” Kadavy said. “I’ll be done with my marketing degree.
I’m planning on taking the real estate exam and getting my license. I’ve been thinking about this stuff a lot lately, but I haven’t decided what to do. After this semester, I’ll have one class left, so I’ll figure out what I want to do.”
For now, Kadavy is soaking up his final collegiate football season looking for the one thing the Mavericks haven’t done in his four years — win an RMAC title.