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August 28, 2003 - Sometimes having the attitude of a 20-year-old football player can be a good thing. Like when the smoke from the Montana wildfires is so thick you can barely breath. Or when the sun goes down and you see flames on the sides of mountains a few miles from your Missoula dorm room. But those things never stand in the way of practice.

“When you get in to fall practice, World War III could break out and you’d barely notice,” Montana head coach Bobby Hauck said.

When the Grizzly football team was forced to move its preseason practices 118 miles to Butte, Mont. because the smoke made it impossible to practice, the team treated it like an NFL training camp rather than an inconvenience. Hauck says it felt like a vacation for him, having spent many of his childhood summers around Butte. That is, if 14-hour days of practice and film study can be called a vacation.

“The three days we lost of practice worry me a little bit, but I think we caught up,” Hauck said.

All days of August practice are critical, but for first-year head coach Hauck and his staff, three lost days of implementing and fine-tuning new schemes can be a significant hurdle. Compound that with specific preparations for the first game of the season against the Maine Black Bears, a I-AA quarterfinalist in each of the last two seasons, and the last thing the Grizzlies needed in preseason was a natural disaster.

As far as transitions to new staffs go, the Grizzlies have had it pretty easy. Hauck is not only a Montana alum but a native of the Treasure State. When Joe Glenn left for Wyoming after the 2002 season, Hauck was the first person Montana interviewed for its head coaching position. Five days later, he had the job. Inheriting a program with two national championships and 17-straight winning seasons makes the change even less daunting.

“The strong senior tradition here at Montana has been great for our staff,” Hauck said. “There has been such a winning tradition built up here that each group wants to keep that up. They kind of don’t want to be the ones to let that tradition fall apart.”

The Montana wildfires are still burning, and some are still growing. When Hauck and the Grizzlies fly out of Missoula for Onoro, Maine, they will leave behind the Robert fire, which is currently consuming 46,000 acres.

Game Breakdown

Montana will win if … redshirt freshman quarterback Jeff Disney can expose an inexperienced Maine secondary. Disney challenged Colorado transfer Craig Ochs for the starting quarterback job throughout the preseason, so he was ready to take the ball when Ochs went down with an ankle injury. By the time Ochs returns to full strength in Week 2 or 3, it already may be Disney’s world in Missoula.

Maine will win if … the football game remains close into the fourth quarter. The Black Bears pride themselves on their “Black Hole Defense” and “Pound the Rock” offense built to win the fourth quarter after beating up opponents in the first three periods. That philosophy has paid off for Jack Cosgrove’s team in its back-to-back Atlantic 10 championship seasons. Maine is 6-1 over the past two years in games decided by a touchdown or less.

Carter Blackburn delivers play-by-play for each Game of the Week during CSTV Football Saturday this season. Carter will contribute a weekly preview to CSTV.com.
Wow, that would be great if Disney was a redshirt freshman. I would love to have him here for 4 years. Too bad its not true.

Other than that... I am hyped up! Lets play some football! I am having a hard time concentrating on work today.
Join the club cadwiz. If every damn computer in the place didn't seem to go bonkers today I would have had more time to concentrate on the important stuff more.