MISSOULA – While the 4-3 Montana State Bobcats shook up their season on Monday, the 4-3 Montana Grizzlies chose a different way to dig out of recent struggles. When asked if his team changed anything over the bye week, head coach Bobby Hauck simply joked they’re going to hang onto the ball now.
Turnovers have been the main problem in Montana’s two-game losing streak. The Griz lost the ball eight times, seven coming on fumbles, in losses to Portland State and North Dakota. The team and coaches suffered plenty of frustration and disappointment after getting blown out by the Fighting Hawks a couple weeks ago, but instead of using the bye week to harshly harp on the needed improvements, Hauck took a different approach.
“Part of me wanted to go and scrimmage every day during the week, and just beat on things a bit, try to get them right,” said Hauck. “But I didn’t think that would be productive long-term, so we didn’t do it. We gave our players some days off, which they needed. Hopefully we’re freshened up. We’ll see. We had a lot of bounce in our step at practice (on Saturday morning), so I thought that was a good sign.”
Multiple players have said the extra time off really helped everyone get ahead on schoolwork. It also let the Grizzlies start studying early for a huge test. Sixth-ranked UC Davis comes to Missoula at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Aggies are the only team unbeaten in Big Sky Conference play, with a 4-0 league record.