MISSOULA, Mont. - The Coastal Carolina football team made the trek to Missoula Thursday and held an evening practice in Washington-Grizzly Stadium as they prepare for Saturday's FCS playoff showdown with the Grizzlies.
It's safe to say this is the toughest road trip the Chanticleers have ever made: Coastal Carolina University of the Big South Conference is located in Conway, South Carolina which is eight miles west of Myrtle Beach and about 2,500 miles from Missoula.
"There are a lot of our guys who have never actually physically seen snow," said Chanticleers head coach Joe Moglia moments before his team started practice in Missoula Thursday night. "There are a lot of our guys who don't own coats. We want the guys to be able to put on shoulder pads, we want them to have on their helmets, we want them to get used to running around, catching the ball, throwing the ball in real cold weather. You can't acclimate the cold you know in 48 hours, but you can at least you'll have a better understanding on what to expect."
This will be the first game that Coastal Carolina has ever played outside the Eastern Time zone.
The team has been practicing in 70-degree weather this week, but Thursday night the squad held practice in Washington-Grizzly Stadium at a temperature of just two degrees.
"I think the cold is something you can't prepare for at all. I think it's just all about mind and heart," said starting running back Lorenzo Taliaferro. "I'm pretty sure they are feeling the same way we are you know, so it just come down to being a man. You going to man up or just tuck your tail? So I think we are just going to handle it as we always do."
Meanwhile the hometown Grizzlies are just fine with the forecast. The squad is use to frigid conditions dating back to early morning stadium workouts all of last winter. Montana says cold-weather playoff games in December are what the Griz football legacy is all about:
"I think we get a little excited when the temperatures start to drip and you see a little snow on the ground," explained senior defensive tackle Alex Bienemann earlier this week. "It starts to feel a little bit more like that classic, late season football and I say bring it on. Let the temperature keep dropping, I hope the wind chill puts us beneath zero. I think it's just fun to get a team especially from a different climate up here, give them classic Montana weather, classic Montana football and just challenge them to beat us in our own element, should be fun."
Saturday's second round playoff game kicks off 12:05 (MST) inside Washington Grizzly Stadium.