MISSOULA – Bobby Hauck inherited a backfield at Montana headlined by a couple returning experienced seniors, but a freshman that made the same trip this offseason has become the coach’s first pick.
Adam Eastwood is starting to find some running room. Hauck recruited Eastwood a couple years ago to stay in his Southern California home and play for San Diego State, but the 6-foot-1, 215-pound back decided to transfer after a redshirt season.
Now he says it’s surreal he is starting at UM. After a tough opener, Eastwood is up to nearly 400 yards and six touchdowns, including 132 yards rushing at Cal Poly. He needed a change in scenery for this season, but he’s glad he picked the same coach.
“I knew coach Hauck was coming up here,” Eastwood said about his decision to transfer from SDSU. “I reached out to him. He gave me the opportunity to come up here. It’s been one of the best choices of my life that I’ve made, one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life so far. I love playing up here. I love the team, love the atmosphere, the fans. I just love everything about Missoula.”
“He’s a freshman. He’s done a good job,” said Hauck. “I think he’s maturing as a player. He’s a great kid. I’ve known him since he was a junior in high school. We’re glad he’s here.”
At the beginning of the season it looked like Montana might rotate often at the position with seniors Jeremy Calhoun and Alijah Lee still in the backfield. But Eastwood has nearly 80 percent of the carries given to Griz running backs.
They’ll have a tough task ahead on this weekend. North Dakota is giving up only 125 yards rushing per game, which would rank second in the Big Sky Conference, and 3.8 yards per carry. The Grizzlies and Fighting Hawks kick off at noon Mountain Time Saturday.