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Selfless play, team-first mentality has paid dividends for DT Alex Gubner with Montana Grizzlies

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Posted at 6:02 PM, Oct 26, 2023

MISSOULA — Doing your job is a phrase heard like clockwork in college football.

Alex Gubner is the living embodiment of that for the Montana Grizzlies.

The senior defensive tackle doesn't stuff the stat sheet, but he doesn't have to in order to make his impact felt. Odds are, if Gubner's doing his job — whether that's eating up blocks or something else — a Griz teammate gets a chance to make a play.

"Defensive line ain't pretty, you've got to be violent, you've got to be physical, you've got to get after people and that's what I'm about," Gubner said. "Just disrupting, that's the goal, and having guys like Braxton Hill, Riley Wilson, Levi (Janacaro), Kale Edwards, Hayden (Harris) ... they're getting sacks, that's awesome, and I still have to celebrate with them."

It's a selfless model and career Gubner has carved out, but it's a role he's been more than willing to embrace.

"Whoever tells you, 'I don't want to make big plays, those flashy plays,' is lying, there's nothing better than getting a big sack or a really big stop, and everyone's going crazy. Your teammates are around you. But it's about the team and making plays for our team, our defense, if we go out and win and beat a team up, that's what I want, that's what I think is the most important thing," Gubner said.

"When you watch the film, I think coaches can see what I'm doing, but it's all about the team and doing what's best for them."

The West Hills, California, native arrived to Montana in 2018 where he redshirted, and he started out of the gates as a freshman in 2019.

In that season, Gubner was moved to defensive end, and in unique fashion, he led the Grizzlies in interceptions with four that season, as Gubner was a fast learner to the college game.

"I came in and wasn't expecting to play," Gubner said. "I'm going to grind and wait my turn and all that stuff, and it happened early which is great, but I also learned a lot. It wasn't like I started and all of these crazy great things happened on the field. I'd say I learned a lot and made a lot of mistakes and I grew from it and got better from it.

"Just doing my job every day. Every year you play football and you learn new things. I got better at watching film, understanding what the offense is trying to do just knowing that playing fast, everything just gets better and better if you work at it and that's what I've been doing. Just trying to get better every day and it's a process. I think I'm better than I was Week 1. I find things I need to work on and I try my best to improve."

Gubner eventually moved back to defensive tackle where he's been the starter ever since, and last season he was a first-team All-Big Sky Conference selection thanks to his disruption on the line.

"It felt good because my stats aren't eye-popping," Gubner said. "People don't see my stats and think a lot, but I think it means a lot because the coaches are watching film and the coaches are game planning and they notice it, and that's what those accolades are pretty important."

So far this season, Gubner has picked up where he left off with 21 total tackles, 3.5 for loss and one sack. In his career so far, he's totaled 148 tackles, 22.5 TFLs, 8.5 sacks, four interceptions and one forced fumble.

The home stretch is here for Gubner and No. 7 Montana (6-1, 3-1 Big Sky), and he's enjoying another impactful season, as well as the final ride with his teammates in his new home, as Gubner plans to stay in Montana when his football career concludes. He's already graduated with a degree in business management and is currently in UM's MBA program, which he plans to wrap up in the spring.

"My teammates," Gubner responded when asked what stands out about his time at UM. "I think college is a big deal for even non-athletes. Just the people you meet, the friends you make, the connections you make, they last a lifetime and I'm in a locker room with great dudes and I hope to stay connected to a lot of them, and I've made so many lifelong friends in that senior class alone and other guys below."