The Montana Grizzlies took the field in helmets and shoulder pads for practice No. 4 at Dornblaser Field on Saturday, with the grind of fall camp setting in and exactly three weeks until they take the field against Northern Iowa at under the lights at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
As the most experienced group amongst the Grizzlies, Montana’s defense imposed its will for much of Saturday’s practice, but for head coach Bobby Hauck, there was still room for plenty improvement on both sides of the ball.
“We just need to keep working. We didn’t win today, and I think the guys are aware of it.,” said Hauck.
Olson made a heads-up play on the ball to pick up a leaping interception in one of three team run sessions. Not long after, he was one of a host of defenders to stuff a Grizzly running back around right tackle, driving him back toward the end zone before the whistle blew to end the play.
Though noting his group’s own ups and downs, defensive line coach Barry Sacks liked what he saw today and gave his seniors recognition for their leadership of this year’s group.
“I think if they keep their motor burning through the whole practice, they’re going to win some and lose some. We’ve got some guys with some high motors. It’s a fun group,” said Sacks.
“I enjoy our seniors. I think they are really duty-driven young men. I don’t think they are satisfied with mediocrity. So, it’s easy that way. If they aren’t satisfied with it, they drive the room, and I think those seniors are exceptional in that regard.”
Montana’s defensive backs came up with some big plays as well on Saturday, with sophomore Jed Nagler blocking a pass at the line of scrimmage during red zone work to keep the offense out of the end zone.
Lewis Cowans capped the practice with a pick-six on the last play of the day, his second interception return for a touchdown in as many days.
Despite big defensive plays, the Grizzly offense was not totally shut out of production.
Junior quarterback Dalton Sneed looked crisp during Saturday’s practice, picking up from where he left off during spring.
Early in the practice, Sneed threaded a needle on a 20-plus yard dig route to Jerry Louie-McGee who made a diving grab in the end zone surrounded by defenders.
Later during seven-on-seven Sneed found Samori Toure in two-straight plays for two-straight touchdowns, running a fade deep along the right sideline.
Montana will strap on full pads for the first time during fall camp on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 for the fifth practice of fall camp. The Griz will take a day off Monday when Pearl Jam comes to Missoula to play Washington-Grizzly Stadium.