MISSOULA — The Montana Grizzly football team is back in action this weekend here in Missoula as they welcome Cal Poly to town to kick off Big Sky Conference play.
The Grizzlies opened this season with two dominant victories but had the early bye last weekend, but now get set to host the Cal Poly Mustangs.
The bye week came early this season for Montana after two wins to start the season. Head coach Bobby Hauck said that's just how the schedule worked out and the team is tasked with adjusting accordingly.
"The schedule is set so you plan for it. We really do about the same thing on every open date. The only time it’s more beneficial than another -- in my opinion -- is if you’re banged up and you get another week to heal up,” Hauck explained.
“I did tell our guys that I was disappointed we weren’t playing last weekend because I’m enjoying watching them play. So, we had to wait an extra week but it’ll be fun this weekend."
"It was good. It was good to get some time to watch some football. Most of the day we’re getting ready for our games on Saturdays so it was good to be able to watch some football, relax, it was cool. You always enjoy a bye week, able to relax and take some time off,” wide receiver Samuel Akem noted.
The attention is now on league play. The Grizzlies enter Saturday's contest ranked fourth in the FCS, the highest mark in the Big Sky Conference. But UM says it's business as usual as they march toward another goal.
“I think you have to approach every week trying to win that Saturday so that’s what we’re going to do,” Hauck said. “The addition with the Big Sky Conference games is the goal here is always to win a Big Sky championship so you got to go get them if you hope to do that."
"I’m just going to go out there and whoever they put in front of me. I’m just going to play the football I know how to play,” defensive end Justin Belknap said. “I never really looked at other teams as what conference they’re in or anything like that. They’re 11 grown men just like we’re 11 grown men."
Cal Poly is known for its triple option, but that is not the case anymore under new head coach Beau Baldwin. And as for the Grizzlies, they won't be missing that scheme anytime soon.
"Absolutely. So right now, this is the first time in many years not to have a true triple option team on the schedule so we are very, very pleased that Cal Poly’s not running the triple option anymore,” Hauck observed. “Exceedingly pleased, happy. It’s like Christmas came again."
The kickoff for Saturday's game is at 1 p.m. at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.