MISSOULA — The Montana Grizzlies football team released its two-deep depth chart Tuesday evening ahead of their season-opener against Butler, giving fans a first-look at the projected starters for the Griz.
The depth chart featured a number of interesting notes in what was released. While typically a good barometer of who will play for UM on Saturday's, depth charts can also be deceiving as a tactical move against opponents. In the past, UM's have been both.
Head coach Bobby Hauck was non-committal to a starter at quarterback during his Monday press conference, and the depth chart reflects that as sophomore Sam Vidlak and senior Clifton McDowell are listed as "OR" on the two-deep.
Vidlak, the Boise State transfer, exited spring football as the leader of the job and is seen as the strongest passer of the bunch, while McDowell, who transferred from Central Arkansas, can hurt defenses with both his arm and legs.
At running back, redshirt freshman Eli Gillman is listed as the starter with junior Xavier Harris set as the backup. Senior Nick Ostmo, the projected starter, has been limited in fall camp and is not listed.
Juniors Keelan White, Aaron Fontes and Junior Bergen were all listed as the starting wide receivers. Juniors Ryan Simpson and Sawyer Racanelli and freshman Drew Klumph were listed as the backups.
The offensive line stayed mostly to chalk, with senior Chris Walker, senior A.J. Forbes, sophomore Journey Grimsrud and junior Brandon Casey all listed as starters after starting together a year ago. The only change is at left guard, where sophomore Kukila Lincoln is listed as the starter over senior Hunter Mayginnes.
Mayginnes, who has started the past two seasons, was a first-team All-Big Sky offensive lineman in 2022 and was a preseason all-league pick this season.
Junior Colin Dreis, sophomore Declan McCabe, sophomore Liam Brown and sophomore Cannon Panfiloff were listed as the backups to the others.
At tight end, another surprise emerged with sophomore Jake Olson listed, and presumed starter in junior Erik Barker not on the chart. Junior transfer Evan Shafer was listed as the backup.
On the defensive side of the ball, the safeties played out as expected with seniors TraJon Cotton, Nash Fouch and Garrett Graves all listed as starters. Juniors Jaxon Lee and Ryder Meyer and sophomore T.J. Rausch were all listed as the backups.
At cornerback, senior Corbin Walker and junior Trevin Gradney were listed as the starters with sophomores Jace Klucewich and Ronald Jackson listed as the backups.
The biggest change was to linebacker, where the starting trio was listed as senior Braxton Hill, junior Ryan Tirrell and sophomore Riley Wilson. That places seniors Levi Janacaro and Tyler Flink — two players with vast experience and assumed starters — as backups along with junior Carson Rostad.
On the defensive line, senior Alex Gubner is listed at nose with sophomore Kellen Detrick behind him, while juniors Kale Edwards and Hayden Harris were named the starters at defensive end. Sophomore Matai Mata'afa and junior Garrett Hustedt were named the backups there.
On special teams, Kansas transfer and freshman Grant Glasgow was named the starter, while San Jose State transfer and senior Travis Benham was named the starting punter. Bergen and White were listed as the top two punt returners, while Bergen and Graves were listed as the kick returners.
Sophomore Grayson Pibal was named the starter at long-snapper, while Meyer was listed as the holder.
For a full look at Montana's two-deep, click here.