MISSOULA – Spring is all about starting fresh. Montana football players are back at work, but everything feels a little different. The guys are growing more comfortable with the new men in charge, while the coaches are figuring out what they have to work with.
“Ragged and rocky for a little while.”
That’s the way Bobby Hauck described some of the spots on his new team. The former and now current head coach hasn’t made any final decisions about who will play this fall.
“We really don’t have a good feel for the depth chart yet or what that’s going to be,” said Hauck before Montana took the field for its eighth practice of the spring. “It’s pretty fluid. If you play well, you’re at the top. If you don’t, you’re down at the bottom. That changes on a daily basis.”
Hauck admits his team is thin on the offensive line after graduating four starters. Hauck has moved many of the surplus of receivers from Bob Stitt’s spread era to defense, where the Griz were shorthanded, particularly at linebacker and safety. How it all comes together is still a work in progress.
“The big thing right now is, let’s teach football and get better at that,” said offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Timm Rosenbach, who is also back for his second stint at Montana. “Then we’ll start figuring out what we’re going to do and who we are going to be as we go through the next couple weeks after spring break and then working into fall camp.”
“We need to meld our scheme to what we have personnel-wise,” added Hauck. “So that part is absolutely fluid.”
Even the Griz don’t know what formations will work best on their offense or how many defensive backs or linebackers they’ll play. But they do know one thing — Hauck will inject his brand of toughness and grit into the team.
“In terms of how we play and what we do, it’s a hard line. This is how we do things. This is what we’re doing,” said Hauck. “That’s the thing I admire about our team most. They’ve been really open to it and receptive and eager to participate in the form we want them to take.”
“Any time there is a staff change and those types of things happen, there’s always a culture change — just because it’s the nature of the business and the nature of the staff, the nature of the head coach,” stated Rosenbach. “All of those types of things are going to change. It’s how fast your players decide to pick up on it and buy in makes a difference, and these guys are doing a great job with that right now.”
Montana will hold one more practice on Friday afternoon before taking a week off for spring break. The Griz will show everything they’ve learned so far at their first spring scrimmage on Friday, April 6.