BILLINGS — George Tribble has had quite the journey here to Billings.
The Rocky Mountain College quarterback played high school ball in Las Vegas followed by a year at NAIA Ottawa University in Arizona. Dissatisfied with his situation, Tribble took the Junior College route through Feather River Community College in Northern California.
“Everything happens for a reason. It may not have been the prettiest picture. It may not have been how I imagined it at first, but I was brought here for a reason and I truly believe that," Tribble said. "I feel like I don’t want to change anything in the way I got here or anything, because I’m just happy to be here, play and help this team win.”
If you’ve seen the popular Netflix series Last Chance U, which highlights community college football teams essentially offering kids another chance, you understand the grind juco football encompasses. In fact, Tribble played against Laney College, which is featured on the show.
“It was lots of dudes. Three, four dudes in 1-2 bedroom apartments. No cafeterias or meal plans or anything like that. A lot of the time it was a lot of us putting our money together, getting food stamps, getting EBT and just meal sharing and meal prepping a lot," Tribble said of his time at Feather River CC. "You just have to really embrace it. It brings out a different dog in you. Some people aren’t built for it, and you see that. JUCO, there’s dudes in and out. Same with coaches.”
All that has led Tribble to Rocky, where he now has the keys to the offense of the No. 14 team in the nation following an injury to Nathan Dick.
Tribble has performed well in Dick’s absence, allowing the traits that head coach Chris Stutzriem recruited him for to shine.
“I think we saw the arm strength, the arm talent there and how big he was and how he stood in the pocket but was capable of leaving the pocket and running and getting some positive yards," Stutzriem said. "I think what we’ve seen more of now is his leadership and who he is as a person. It’s kind of hard to see on a recruiting visit, but he’s been a great leader and great teammate.”
Dick’s status is being evaluated on a week-to-week basis, but there’s no doubt the Bears feel they can win a Frontier Conference title with Tribble at the helm.
“Without a doubt. He wouldn’t be our guy if we weren’t. I think we can win a conference championship with him. I think he’s getting more comfortable being out there and getting that rhythm back that he had in JUCO and leading this offense," said Stutzriem.
“Everybody here has been embracing me, helping me every step of the way, so each week I feel like I’m progressing and getting a little more comfortable with what I’m doing," said Tribble.
The Frontier is on a league-wide bye this week, but Rocky is back in action on Oct. 22 at Carroll College.