MISSOULA – You will see it often on the football field this time of year. Long practices in the late summer going against the same teammates over and over again. Eventually the tension creates arguments, and even fights.

Some coaches promote that atmosphere of defense versus offense to try and simulate competition. But Montana head coach Bob Stitt doesn’t want to see it. He came unglued last year when a big hit by a Griz linebacker injured a Griz receiver. He wants everyone to realize they are teammates all of the time. And the players are buying in.

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“We’ve stressed and we’ve talked about the defense playing for the offense,” said senior captain and defensive lineman Caleb Kidder. “Our job is to get them the ball back. They’re job is to go score. We’ve always been close, but now we’re just playing for each other instead of just playing for the defense or playing for the offense.”

“I know a lot of teams they do have that offense versus defense, or it’s the offense and it’s the defense,” said senior safety Yamen Sanders, who transferred to Montana from Arizona last year. “But we’re just the Griz. And I mean, when you’re just the Griz it’s something really amazing. It will help us win a lot of ball games, just being a cohesive unit as a whole.”

Stitt hopes his offense and defense split the big plays each practice to keep everyone happy, but he understands that won’t always happen. We’ll get our first chance to watch full speed drills at the Grizzlies first scrimmage at 4:00 Monday afternoon.

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