MISSOULA — The Montana Grizzlies stepped back on the field for their seventh practice of fall football camp this Tuesday afternoon. Compared to this time last year, everyone has a better understanding of the expectations. Head coach Bobby Hauck and the entire coaching staff return, making the grind of camp feel more routine.
The players have plenty of experience in the system. Montana fielded an extremely young team in 2018 and needed many unproven starters to step up. But now the Griz return 26 guys who started at least one game last year.
Some stars have become entrenched in their spots, such as quarterback Dalton Sneed, receiver Sammy Akem and linebacker Dante Olson. So one of the key themes of camp for coach Hauck is finding backups who can also give help through a long season.
"I think when we were good around here we had good depth," Hauck said, referencing the dominant stretch during his first tenure as Griz head coach in the 2000s. "Our groups beyond our first group were good players. It wasn't like we went seven years without getting somebody hurt. So we need to develop depth."
"You know he wants you to work. You know that he wants you to grind," said Akem. "You know that he is going to expect, he has high expectations for us on a daily basis. So you know that coming in."
"Everyone has more-so bought in to what coach Hauck has brought to us and laid on the table, how he wants us to come in every day and perform," added Sneed. "The mentality and all of that has changed completely. I think he's building something great here."
Hauck added that many of the young players have caught his eye, but they need to do it more consistently. Montana kicks off the season at South Dakota on Aug. 31.