Griz solid in scrum debut

MISSOULA — The University of Montana played four different quarterbacks and the result was two touchdowns and a pair of field goals, as the Grizzlies held their first scrimmage of fall camp Sunday evening (Aug. 12) under the lights in Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

Head Coach Mick Delaney’s 2012 Grizzlies ran 80 plays in about 50 minutes of action and the offense accumulated 328 total yards in front of about 600 fans in WGS.

“I think we got a ton accomplished tonight,” Delaney said.  “We’ve had a great week of practice and we wanted to carry that over into a game situations, and that’s what we tried to set up.  We had no turnovers until the very end of the scrimmage and I feel good about that.  The level of play is very, very good, but the execution isn’t even close to where we need to be.

“I thought the players had great effort, but obviously we still have a ton of work to do,” Delaney said.  “We need to play faster.  I think that there were enough positive things that we can start the week off tomorrow on a really good note.”

Redshirt freshman quarterback Trent McKinney (6-0, 198, from Mililani, Hawaii) ) took the first snap from scrimmage and led the offense down to the 10-yard line, resulting in a 27-yard field goal by redshirt freshman Chris Lider (6-1, 200, from Bellevue, Wash.).

Stanford transfer Adam Brzeczek (6-0, 195, from Queen Creek, Ariz.) had a solid debut, as he guided the offense to a 70-yard, nine-play scoring drive on his first series of the evening, completing a pass to sophomore Kevin Berland (5-9, 175, from Missoula) for an 11-yard touchdown.

The defense performed well in the next several series, holding the offense to a 29-yard field goal by Lider and a 3-yard touchdown run by senior halfback/fullback Dan Moore (5-11, 235, from Tucson, Ariz.).  Moore’s scoring run came on a two-play series which started from the 15-yard line of the defense.

McKinney had the most reps and completed 9-of-20 passes for 70 yards and rushed five times for 41 yards.  Brzeczek was 5-of-10-1 for 63 yards and a touchdown.  Sophomore Shay Smithwick-Hann (6-4, 214, from Kalispell), was 5-of-6 for 15 yards, while true freshman Brady Gustafson (6-7, 210, from Billings), was 5-of-9 for 36 yards.

“I think for their (the quarterbacks) first time out of the blocks they did some good things and they did some bad things, but it was a very good learning experience for them tonight,” Delaney said.  “They had some good throws and had a couple of horrific throws too.  I think they panicked a couple of times, but that’s not unexpected at this point of time.  All four of them took a lot of snaps, and that’s just a work in progress.

“I think Trent might have a slight edge because of his running ability, but the other guys had their moments too,” Delaney said.  “I thought Shay and Adam did some good things, and I also think that Brady Gustafson in an awfully talented young guy at that position.”

Senior Caleb Walden (5-9, 198, from Boise), had scrimmage highs of 10 carries for 50 yards.  Berland had 4 catches for 21 yards and the TD.  Senior tight end Greg Hardy (6-5, 245, from Fairview) had 3 receptions for 17 yards.

Tyrone Holmes 6-4, 265, from Eagle Point, Ore.) had 2 sacks, while fellow defensive end and true freshman Caleb Kidder (6-5, 240, from Helena) also had one, as did sophomore end Zach Wagenmann.  The scrimmage ended on a diving interception by junior linebacker John Kanogata’a – the only turnover in the contest.

“I think out first offensive line played really well,” Delaney said, when asked what he liked about the scrimmage.  “They handled a lot of pressure situations very well.  Our quarterbacks did some really good things.  I think Dan Moore (7 carries for 30 yards) stood out in short yardage situations and pass protection.  Peter Nguyen did not have many reps (3 carries for 11 yards), but he is having a good fall camp.  I was happy with our two little receivers, Kevin Berland and Cam Warren (5-7, 160,, Jr., Bellevue, Wash., who had two catches for 28 yards), and Greg Hardy also had a good scrimmage.

“On offense, I was happy with the way we operated, but would have liked more production,” Delaney continued.  “On the defensive side I thought we tackled very, very well for a first scrimmage, and that’s always a really good sign. It looks like to me that we are going to be a good tackling football team.”

Freshman punter Stephen Shaw had six attempts for a 40.1-yard average, including a 56-yard effort.  Lider missed a 37-yard field goal attempt, due in large part to an errant snap.

The next scrimmage is slated for Saturday (August 18) morning.

— UM Sports Information



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