A Workman-Like Effort Prevailed


Getting off the snide has a great feel to it.

Even if Grizzly football remains a work in progress, there were signs Saturday afternoon in Colorado that while all things have not immediately been righted with a pair of wins after consecutive losses at Cal Poly and Eastern Washington, there’s been some improvements in areas where Montana has to play better if they are going to contend for a 13th consecutive Big Sky Conference championship.

With a sun-drenched Homecoming crowd heavily sprinkled in Maroon, the Grizzlies silenced the “thunder sticks” and “clappers” employed by the Northern Colorado faithful in Greeley and at times dominated the Bears for a 10th consecutive time.

The Grizzlies opened the game on offense and the coin toss looked like a MASH unit as two of the team’s three captains, defensive end Tyler Hobbs and quarterback Andrews Selle, were not to see the field because of injury leaving a somewhat ailing Chase Reynolds the only of the three to play

But as we talked about early on the radio – probably when the television signal was down in the first quarter – on Saturday this Grizzly team seemed to have a sense of immediacy absent on the last two road trips.

It isn’t something you can quantify or even blame someone for, it’s just an indefinable spark that is starting to emerge as a workmanlike effort prevailed on the field and Montana proved to be the far better team, especially in the first half.

But while the presence of that feeling was prevalent early-on, it did not carry through the entire contest and the fiery group that made the long trek to the locker room at halftime did not emerge to begin the second stanza and seemed more to be going through the motions secure in the fact they were the better team on this given day.

Now some of what might be described as lack of focus can be attributed to the early lead and substitutions but you’d like to see a team who is fighting for its collective season life display a “killer instinct” and continue to dominate in all phases no matter what the score.

Make no mistake it was a dominant defensive effort as Defensive Coordinator Mike Breske, who coached a pair of D-II national championship teams in Greeley under former Griz mentor Joe Glenn, enjoyed his own Homecoming by “dialing up” a defense that flustered Northern Colorado the entire game.

And quarterback Justin Roper, in just his third Grizzly start, was especially creative with a bit of a retooled offense more suited for his style of play.

But penalties continued to be a negative and while the Grizzlies tuned the ball over but twice, they put it on the ground four times and ball security continues to be an issue.

A couple of things came out of Saturday however; it’s going to be a wacky conference race as Eastern Washington proved up to the task by winning in Ogden over Weber State, and the Bobcats gave up 61 points in Sacramento but secured the league lead by winning in overtime.