Griz begin first of 15 spring practices March 15

Senior FS Matt Hermanson

Senior FS Matt Hermanson

March 10, 2014

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The University of Montana Grizzly football team starts 2014 spring drills this Saturday, March 15. Spring drills will run from March 15-28, and April 7-17.

The team will take seven days off from March 29 to April 6 for spring break. Practice times will vary.

Montana returns 14 starters from a 10-3 team that placed third in the Big Conference with a 6-2 record last year. Also back are 44 lettermen, 15 redshirts, and 13 squad members.

Offensive starters back are senior halfback Jordan Canada, junior wide receivers Ellis Henderson and Jamaal Jones, senior quarterback Jordan Johnson, senior tackle Trevor Poole, junior tackle John Schmaing, and junior fullback Jamal Wilson.

Starters back on "D" are junior cornerback Nate Harris, senior free safety Matt Hermanson, junior end Tyrone Holmes, senior tackle Tonga Takai, and senior end Zach Wagenmann. Also back are junior punter Stephen Shaw and sophomore kicker Ben Worst.

"I've always felt that spring ball is kind of the second phase of identifying what type of team you're going to be in the fall. The first thing obviously is your winter program, and that starts in January and runs right through this Thursday (March 13). That's phase one, and it's just been tremendous. Our players have worked so hard. I think they are starting to develop their own identity, and they're going to do what it takes to be successful. We've been outside (in Washington-Grizzly Stadium) for every workout. We have not cancelled one workout, no matter how bad the elements were out there.

"Once you get to the football part of it, with spring football, it's the second phase of getting that chemistry and developing that, and finding out what we are all about," Delaney said. "We know that we want to be a real physical team on offense and defense, so we'll put a lot of emphasis on that this spring. As always, we want to run the ball very effectively, and off of that we will work on our play-action and drop-back passing game.

"Defensively we've set real high goals that we want to be in the top 10 in the country in defense, and we're getting better and better the last couple of years," he said. "I think we have a chance to be a very prolific defense also.

"We want to develop a little bit of depth at some positions, and there are a few (starting) positions that are still open," Delaney continued. "We want to make sure we have the guys at the right positions, and make sure that we have the best guys on the field, all those types of things. Basically it's just going to be a lot of fun to get back on the field to real football, as our players say. We've got a lot of work to do. We've got 15 practices, and we plan to take advantage of those every single minute."

The Grizzlies' first of three scrimmages this spring is Saturday, March 22, starting around 10:00 a.m. in Washington-Grizzly Stadium.



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