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tgreseth

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http://missoulian.com/sports/colleg...cle_682bce4c-a1a8-11e2-be7b-0019bb2963f4.html

By Fritz Neighbor
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It happened again Tuesday, in the University of Montana’s first football practice after spring break: TraVon Van took a handoff, found the sideline and zipped past the one defender who seemed to have an angle.

This time it was Brock Coyle, and that’s not to get on the senior middle linebacker and the Grizzlies’ leading tackler in 2012. Van, the Marshall transfer, has been a hard man to get a handle on this spring.

“Just going against him and watching him when I’m on the sideline, he’s an exciting player,” said Coyle. “We’re really lucky to have a guy like that. You just don’t know what he’s going to do.

“As a defender it’s really tough; a guy with those type of quicks, you’ve just got to take a shot and hopefully you make the tackle. But if not, you hope your guys are rallying – because a guy can make a lot of dudes miss.”

In 2008, a somewhat forgotten Chase Reynolds started turning heads during spring drills ahead of a breakout season. Van has similarly gone from unknown quantity – he rushed for 93 yards in three games in 2012 – to someone who could make waves in the fall.

Mick Delaney sees another similarity between Reynolds, who’s spent the last two seasons on the St. Louis Rams’ practice squad, and Van, who was the leading rusher at Marshall when he lost his starting spot in 2012.

Mainly it’s about streamlining the movements toward and through the gap.

“When Chase first got there he did a lot of looking around and wondering what he should and shouldn’t do,” Delaney, who was UM’s running backs coach for 4 years, said. “And Tra’s got a little bit of a habit of trying to do too much. But man, he’s got a lot of talent. Great body control, all that stuff. He’ll be fine.”

Another adjustment is on the style of offense.

“At Marshall I was running the spread,” said Van, a 195-pound junior. “Here I’m running more of the pro-style, which I like a little better because it helps me get downhill more. You know, keep my shoulders square.”

That fits in with what Delaney, who has been coaching college football for 28 seasons, expects.

“No one’s going to dance all over the field,” he maintains. “They’re going to put their foot in the ground and go. And man when he (Van) does that, he’s dynamic. He and Jordan Canada, both.”

He has been a solid find for the Griz, who lost two productive running backs in seniors Peter Nguyen and Dan Moore. Van joins a backfield that had Canada returning as a junior, along with Joey Counts and Brett Kirschner, who for a time this spring was playing safety.

“Jordan Canada is having a great spring and he’s hurt,” said Delaney. “He’s fighting through a real bad heel bruise but he’s taking his turns. And getting Kirschner back over there is really going to help this football team.”

Kirschner is in good company, since Reynolds spent a season trying his hand at receiver. As for Van, he played cornerback for a short time at Marshall last fall before deciding to transfer.

He landed in Missoula and likes the surroundings. The linemen, for example, “are just as big and just as physical and moving around just as good.

“So far I like it; I love it a lot,” Van added. “I feel like I made the right decision to come here. With the coaching staff and the players around me, I just feel like it’s a good situation.”

“I never watched Marshall so I would guess we’re probably doing a couple things different, maybe than what he’s used to,” Delaney said. “But he’s such a conscientious guy; he spends time watching tape and works hard and I think he’s going to be something special.”

* * *

The first practice after break wasn’t without its rough patches, and Delaney wasn’t completely happy.

“The intensity stayed there,” he said. “That hasn’t disappointed me in any practice we’ve had, or workout through the winter. But you’ve got to have intensity with some intelligence, too.

“Today we were very inconsistent. Mentally we were still on break for a good part of practice. And that isn’t everybody but it only takes one or two for a play to go completely haywire. We had far too many mental mistakes today. But the enthusiasm’s there.”

Jamal Anderson had an interception on a pass thrown by Shay Smithwick-Hann; Jordan Johnson had to throw away a few passes and was on target with the rest, but saw a few dropped. The junior quarterback had sat out a few pre-break practices with a sore hamstring.

“For me, it was great to see Jordy go through a complete practice today,” Delaney said. “That was enough to make me smile and forget about some of the bad stuff that we’ll get corrected tomorrow.”

QUICK KICKS: The Griz have a night practice Wednesday and then another Friday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s noon scrimmage in Ronan. Spring drills conclude April 19 with a 7 p.m. scrimmage inside Washington-Grizzly Stadium. … Ends Tyrone Holmes and Derek Crittenden led a strong day by UM’s defensive line. … Coyle and DT Alex Bienemann, who had concussions in the first spring scrimmage and were held out the second week of drills, were both back at full speed in full pads Tuesday.
 
For the first time in quite a while I'm actually really stoked for the for the upcoming season!! GO GRIZ!!!
 
Nice job by Delaney to recruit Van, he sounds like a hell of a talent and best of all, appears to be fully buying into UM and the team. I hope he stays healthy because we don't really have any other playmakers at RB. Canada I suppose, but there's an 80% chance he'll be hurt most of the season.

Having Van and Johnson in the backfield should be fun to watch. It'll open up our passing game and make our average WR's look above average.
 
griz5700 said:
Nice job by Delaney to recruit Van, he sounds like a hell of a talent and best of all, appears to be fully buying into UM and the team. I hope he stays healthy because we don't really have any other playmakers at RB. Canada I suppose, but there's an 80% chance he'll be hurt most of the season.

Having Van and Johnson in the backfield should be fun to watch. It'll open up our passing game and make our average WR's look above average.
+1 :thumb: I think you're right about Canada. I was really worried a couple weeks ago before I heard about Van. Now, I'm pretty confident that the slump is over. Especially when you mentioned JJ and Van together!! I will be making the 700 mile round trip from Billings more than once this season!
 
Oh no, here goes this debate again!

“At Marshall I was running the spread,” said Van, a 195-pound junior. “Here I’m running more of the pro-style, which I like a little better because it helps me get downhill more. You know, keep my shoulders square.”
 
AllWeatherFan said:
Oh no, here goes this debate again!

“At Marshall I was running the spread,” said Van, a 195-pound junior. “Here I’m running more of the pro-style, which I like a little better because it helps me get downhill more. You know, keep my shoulders square.”
:thumb:
PLNU-Camp-670x442.jpg
 
AllWeatherFan said:
Oh no, here goes this debate again!

“At Marshall I was running the spread,” said Van, a 195-pound junior. “Here I’m running more of the pro-style, which I like a little better because it helps me get downhill more. You know, keep my shoulders square.”
Still not happy about it and think its a mistake, but whatever works.
 
griz4life said:
No. Nice job by coach Justin Green to recruit Van. Without Justin, Van isn't a Griz.

That's right..

Green has done a fantastic job recruiting. Without him, no Teshawn Favors or Ryan McKinley. Two guys I didn't think we would land. Hopefully a promotion is coming Justin's way soon otherwise he'll be gone, which would be a blow.
 
griz5700 said:
griz4life said:
No. Nice job by coach Justin Green to recruit Van. Without Justin, Van isn't a Griz.

That's right..

Green has done a fantastic job recruiting. Without him, no Teshawn Favors or Ryan McKinley. Two guys I didn't think we would land. Hopefully a promotion is coming Justin's way soon otherwise he'll be gone, which would be a blow.

Justin is from San Diego. He was a stud player back in the day and not a "thug" either. Imagine that. San Diego State has to to regret how they handled him as a frosh. It's good to see him
make a name for himself in coaching. Van is from SD too.
 
griz5700 said:
Nice job by Delaney to recruit Van, he sounds like a hell of a talent and best of all, appears to be fully buying into UM and the team. I hope he stays healthy because we don't really have any other playmakers at RB. Canada I suppose, but there's an 80% chance he'll be hurt most of the season.

Having Van and Johnson in the backfield should be fun to watch. It'll open up our passing game and make our average WR's look above average.
I agree completely, but I think Henderson is going to raise some eyebrows. :-o
 
rimrockgriz said:
griz5700 said:
Nice job by Delaney to recruit Van, he sounds like a hell of a talent and best of all, appears to be fully buying into UM and the team. I hope he stays healthy because we don't really have any other playmakers at RB. Canada I suppose, but there's an 80% chance he'll be hurt most of the season.

Having Van and Johnson in the backfield should be fun to watch. It'll open up our passing game and make our average WR's look above average.
I agree completely, but I think Henderson is going to raise some eyebrows. :-o

Henderson
Johnson
Van
Canada
Kirshner
Wolcott
etc.
etc.
etc.


Our offense should be fun to watch.
 
AZGrizFan said:
rimrockgriz said:
griz5700 said:
Nice job by Delaney to recruit Van, he sounds like a hell of a talent and best of all, appears to be fully buying into UM and the team. I hope he stays healthy because we don't really have any other playmakers at RB. Canada I suppose, but there's an 80% chance he'll be hurt most of the season.

Having Van and Johnson in the backfield should be fun to watch. It'll open up our passing game and make our average WR's look above average.
I agree completely, but I think Henderson is going to raise some eyebrows. :-o

Henderson
Johnson
Van
Canada
Kirshner
Wolcott
etc.
etc.
etc.


Our offense should be fun to watch.

I second this.

Sent from my GT-N8013 using Tapatalk HD
 
GrizMusician said:
AZGrizFan said:
rimrockgriz said:
griz5700 said:
Nice job by Delaney to recruit Van, he sounds like a hell of a talent and best of all, appears to be fully buying into UM and the team. I hope he stays healthy because we don't really have any other playmakers at RB. Canada I suppose, but there's an 80% chance he'll be hurt most of the season.

Having Van and Johnson in the backfield should be fun to watch. It'll open up our passing game and make our average WR's look above average.
I agree completely, but I think Henderson is going to raise some eyebrows. :-o

Henderson
Johnson
Van
Canada
Kirshner
Wolcott
etc.
etc.
etc.


Our offense should be fun to watch.

I second this.

Sent from my GT-N8013 using Tapatalk HD

Talent + committed coaches+more experienced WR's+Better QB= GREAT OFFENSE!!!!!! :thumb:
 
GrizMusician said:
AZGrizFan said:
rimrockgriz said:
griz5700 said:
Nice job by Delaney to recruit Van, he sounds like a hell of a talent and best of all, appears to be fully buying into UM and the team. I hope he stays healthy because we don't really have any other playmakers at RB. Canada I suppose, but there's an 80% chance he'll be hurt most of the season.

Having Van and Johnson in the backfield should be fun to watch. It'll open up our passing game and make our average WR's look above average.
I agree completely, but I think Henderson is going to raise some eyebrows. :-o

Henderson
Johnson
Van
Canada
Kirshner
Wolcott
etc.
etc.
etc.


Our offense should be fun to watch.

I second this.

Sent from my GT-N8013 using Tapatalk HD
I third this. I'm fired up about our team! Almost as fired up as when the clock hit O:45 during the 2009 UM vs SDSU game
 
Okay, I am officially excited about Griz football for this up coming season....
But am I to assume that, just like last year, there will by no internet broadcast of most of the games?
Will I have to give plasma in order to upgrade my Dish network to include Root Sports?
It really kind of sucks that we can't look back at last years games and see a 10 minute highlight of each of the games. My wife thought I was crazy in years past that I would watch the game on my computer then wait patiently until the highlight of the game, I just watched, would come up and then watch that 3 or 4 times.

Here's to the good ol days.
 
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