MISSOULA – Every year former Montana Grizzlies quarterback legend and established NFL coach, Marty Mornhinweg comes back to his old stomping grounds to coach up some of the best high school quarterbacks in the state. We got the chance to sit down and talk with Mornhinweg about his camp and what the future holds.
MTN Sports: How important is this camp to not only you but the kids who get to attend?
Mornhinweg: “Man alive, I had so much fun. I hope the kids and the coaches at the clinic had as much fun as I did. You know what, if they can take even one little thing that can help them in the future then it is 100% worth every ounce of energy that Joe Glenn and I put into it. Joe Glenn was the guest coach. I thought it was awesome for Missoula, the players, the coaches that were at the clinic. Joe has won a national championship at Montana, won two over in Northern Colorado. We have Bobby Hauck speak at the camp, I think it’s seven straight Big Sky championships, went to the National Championship. The great Mike Van Diest, I think it was, won six national titles up there at Carroll. We are trying to get the great Jim McElwain. First year as the head coach up in Michigan, and he just couldn’t get himself pulled away in time so I had to speak. This is a great, great camp. Great group of QB’s, great young men, first of all, some great athletes. Last year’s camp was great as well, we had a young man go to UM, a guy go to Montana State. They are going to have to take some of these drills and work them hard back to back to back every day. For it to become natural in game situations, so we talked about that. We talked about what a progression is, talked about how to read a defense. I went four different reads, and if they can do those four, master that. They can do anything their coaches ask them to do. It’s a quarterback camp. Feet, feet, feet. It’s all eyes and feet.”
MTN Sports: Lots of good talent out here, but sometimes Montana kids don’t get many eyes on them. Does this camp help their recruitment possibilities?
Mornhinweg: “Well look, I think everyone’s concerned about that. This recruiting thing has changed since I was in college. I think my mentality still holds up if you’re good enough they’re going to find you. It might not be quite the level you want but look half the guys in the NFL played at small schools. If you’re good enough and you keep at it and want to, you’ll have some opportunities.”
MTN Sports: Can you touch on your playing days at Montana?
Mornhinweg: “Hey! Early 80’s! My teammates and myself, you know that nice facility over there that stadium, we think we built that thing. In 1981, my freshman year we were playing really good at the end of the year and if I didn’t screw it up we would have beaten Nevada who was ranked very high in the country. Screwed the dang thing up right at the end. True freshman, pulled the string just a little bit, never happened again, by the way. Then my sophomore year we were 7-1, we turned the corner, several of us didn’t play and were beat up but we knew we could be really good that year. Then 1982 we won the games that we had to win. That’s back when Boise, Idaho, and Nevada were back in the Big Sky. It was a physical fist fight, every game that you played. You know our defense was ranked somewhere in the middle, but when the chips were down they made stops. We had the ball at the end several times and won some games in the finals minutes or seconds, we put it together there. Then senior year I got this knee thing. I think if we stayed healthy we would have been a little better. Then the Mirage bowl ended it. What a deal that was, I missed it all except for the game, I was sicker than a dog. All I did was play the game. We should have won that game too. But a hell of a deal, I was telling someone the other day, who wouldn’t want to play football at the University of Montana. You got Bobby Hauck, great staff, the facilities, the fans, are you kidding me? Let me tell you a story, I’m coaching at NAU, wives trip to Missoula. My wife didn’t know much about football then, now she knows just enough to be dangerous. She thought it was gonna be a nice welcome and the fans are giving her the business a little. She goes, I can’t believe this I thought you played here and I said you thought they were gonna welcome you? So she learned a lot, the fans of Montana taught my wife an awful lot. And I had a great coach in Joe Glenn, a fantastic coach. I wish one of my kids played for joe but the timing wasn’t right.”
MTN Sports: No longer with the Ravens, is there coaching in the NFL in the future?
Mornhinweg: “What a ride, she was talking about the other day, she said man what a ride! And I said girl it’s just starting, let’s roll. So that’s where we’re at. I’ve spent more time in Montana in the past couple of months than I have in many decades. So, I’ve done things that I’ve never been able to do and I’ve just been loving it man. I put a new fence up, then I had to rebuild the fence because a truck took it out then I redid an outside table I thought I did a brilliant job and then all of a sudden three days later it didn’t look as good so I had to redo it and I tracked Bigfoot and thought I had him cornered for a little while. I had a couple of surgeries and I flew in here every time to do some rehab and I worked some golf into it. ”
MTN Sports: What team are you rooting for in the NFL this year?
Mornhinweg: “I don’t know you know! Here’s the deal. When I would move teams, my family, and extended family, I mean they switch it, boom! It’s easy to do. Let me tell you a little story though. I’m coaching the quarterbacks in Green Bay and we just won the Superbowl. And you need to understand, you know in Green Bay they put cheese heads on the babies right when they’re born. I had already taken the job as a coordinator in San Francisco. So, I ask the two oldest, what do you think? Sunny in northern California, grama, poppa, cousins and uncles. So they say okay and I tell them we’re working for the San Francisco 49ers. And they go “No, what are you doing?” We had just beaten San Francisco three times in a calendar year. So, I just tell them to think about it. Next day in the suburban they’re in the back, my oldest, Maddie girl says we thought about you rooting for the San Francisco 49ers and we can do that. But we have one question. Do we have to be Dallas Cowboy fans too? And I say no! we’re all good!”