After a long, hot summer, and an NCAA report in the rear-view mirror, the University of Montana football team prepares for the 2013 season, as players report on Sunday, with the first practice on Tuesday, August 6.

Montana Sports Information said this week that the team will have one-a-day practices Tuesday through Friday, August 6 -10 from 2:00 till 4:00 P.M. Fall camp practices continue until the 24th, and are closed to the public.

There will be three fall scrimmages, on Sunday, August 11, Saturday, August 17, and Thursday, August 17, with exact times to be released at a later date.

The Grizzlies are coming off a disappointing 5-6 season last year, where they went 3-5 in the Big Sky Conference. It was their first losing season in almost 30 years. The team has adopted the term 'United' as the theme for this season, with their mission to return Montana to its dominance as one of the elite teams in the Football Championship Subdivision, a position they have consistently held for almost 30 years.

Head coach Mick Delaney said he is greatly impressed with Montana's returning defense, even though the team struggled in pass defense last season, and were ranked almost dead-last in pass defense in the country, (120th out of 121 teams).

"I really expect our defense to be outstanding," Delaney said. "Obviously, they haven't done it on the field as a group yet, but when you look at who we have coming back, plus the younger guys who will provide quality depth, I think our defense could be one of the best in the FCS."

Leading the way are returning All-Americans Jordan Tripp and Zack Wagenmann, who were both first team all-league selections as well.  Other returning starters on “D” are tackles Alex Bienemann and Tonga Takai; linebackers Brock Coyle and John Kanongata’a; cornerbacks Joshua Dennard, Anthony Goodwin and Sean Murray; and safeties Matt Hermanson and Bo Tully.

Despite its six losses last season, Montana led the Big Sky and was ranked 11th in the country in total offense (452.27 ypg) and rushing (235.73 ypg), and tied for 27th in scoring (31.64 ppg).

“I know we are going to be very solid on the offensive side of the football,” Delaney said.  “We changed our scheme somewhat, and I think that will benefit the type of players we have.  We have great size and depth on the offensive line and will use a two-back set sometimes, or a one-back scheme with two or three tight ends.  I think that scheme will help our play-action passing game.  I expect our completion percentage to go way up (it was 6.3% last season) because of what we are doing.  We won’t go down the field as often, but we will still have a nice package to stretch the field.” 

The Grizzlies have had three players named to 2013 preseason All-America teams: Offensive lineman Danny Kistler, Jr., Jordan Tripp, and Zach Wagenmann.

The Grizzlies will open their season at home under the lights against perennial FCS powerhouse Appalachian State on Saturday, August 31 at 7:00 p.m.


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