Posted: Aug 8, 2012 11:44 AM by Derek Buerkle - MTN Sports
MISSOULA - The Grizzlies are back and after an ugly offseason, Montana can finally start concentrating on the grind of fall camp. Even with hot temperatures, two-a-day practices and endless meetings over the next three weeks, football feels like a welcome break.
"I just hate talking. I just hate the talking. It's just nice to be back and kind of block that out for a bit," Griz wide receiver Sam Gratton said Tuesday.
"This is what we've been waiting for since really the day they walked off the field at the end of Spring football. There were still a lot of questions up in the air, you know. And obviously they went to work and tried to put those distractions aside. And I think they did a great job. But this is what the doctor ordered," Coach Mike Delaney added.
No one has experienced more change from this crazy offseason than Delaney. He expected to be enjoying retirement in his native Butte right now, but instead he's a head coach for the first time in 20 years.
But his recent history made the Grizzlies instantly respect the new man in charge.
"Probably the easiest transition there could be. Really for us it didn't even seem like a transition cause he's been here with us for the last four years. So everyone knows him," defensive end Josh Harris observed.
The Griz know Delaney, but there is much more they don't know. They need to replace eight starters on defense and three on the offensive line. Two new coordinators take over the offense and defense, and with Jordan Johnson facing rape charges, four quarterbacks who have not completed a pass in college will battle for the spot behind center.
That includes Stanford transfer Adam Brzeczek, who took his first snaps as a Grizzly wearing number six on Tuesday. But even with all the question marks, the Grizzlies expect to deliver the same answers this fall.
"I think that we'll win with anybody. And we've got a strong corps to surround them with. So I think, we're not going anywhere," Gratton predicted.
"[The] ultimate goal is the same it has been every year. Winning season, Big Sky championship, move on to a national championship," Harris concluded.
Senior Gerald Kemp did practice with the Griz on Tuesday. He was suspended for breaking team rules, but Delaney said he could work his way back into the team. However, Kemp worked out with the wide receivers, not the quarterbacks.
Montana practices again at 2 p.m. Wednesday on campus.