After long offseason, Montana Grizzlies ready for kickoff

UM opens season at South Dakota Saturday
Griz Football Practice
Posted at 9:52 AM, Aug 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-27 16:09:37-04

MISSOULA — The Grizzlies have been waiting for 282 days. The second last season wrapped up in heartbreaking fashion, the maroon and silver went to work with this week in mind. Montana will kickoff the 2019 campaign this Saturday.

The Griz have put high expectations on themselves. But the program is in an unusual place. Montana has missed the FCS playoffs three years in a row, the first time that has happened since 1992. And the 18-time Big Sky champions have not won a conference title in ten years.

To change that trend, Bobby Hauck put his team to work. And he feels the Grizzlies checked all of the boxes needed during the past three weeks of fall camp.

"Our players would agree, it's been a pretty arduous offseason," stated the head coach. "They've worked really hard. We're at that juncture where we want to play somebody else. I think the last eight-plus months have been very productive for our team. All indicators are that our guys are ready to go."

"We're a hard-working group. We know what we have to do. We know what has been put on us. And we know what we want to do as a team," said junior wide receiver Sammy Akem. "We're just ready to prove, really, just ready to prove ourselves. We put our head down and we grind. That's what this group has tried to show all offseason and fall camp.

A few more days of practice, and then Akem, Hauck and company travel to Vermillion to battle South Dakota. The Coyotes finished 4-7 in 2018, but return a good chunk of their team. And they made it to the second round of the FCS playoffs just two years ago.

A new season kicks off at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.