MISSOULA – The Montana Grizzlies entered this football season with tons of question marks, but one week in they may have found a couple answers on defense: one from a familiar star and another from an unexpected transition.
Justin Calhoun moved from wide receiver to cornerback during the summer, a position he played in high school, but never before at UM. You couldn’t tell versus Northern Iowa.
Calhoun showed flashes of becoming a shutdown corner, breaking up three passes. The junior from Long Beach, Calif. also forced a fumble on a quarterback sack. Coach Bobby Hauck was very pleased with Calhoun’s play, but the former offensive guy knows he must get more physical to play D.
“I would start the play off well, but I didn’t finish it as strong as I wanted to,” said Calhoun. “Wrapping up was a problem for me. I didn’t wrap up many times. I feel like I played the ball really well, though.”
“I was definitely excited,” Calhoun continued. “I love receiver. I don’t know which one I like more. But playing my old position, I was definitely excited for it. I was ready for it.”
The Griz also got a boost from Josh Buss. Montana didn’t know what it would get from the preseason Big Sky Conference defensive player of the year after he dealt with an undisclosed injury all offseason, but Buss played quite a bit in the first half, making four tackles and forcing a fumble.
Hauck said the Grizzlies will keep bringing the senior linebacker from Boise along slowly so he’s at his peak by November.
Buss, Calhoun and the Grizzlies will try to shut down the Drake Bulldogs on Saturday. They’ll kick off at 1 p.m. in Washington-Grizzly Stadium.