MISSOULA, Mont. - Montana's defense shined yet again as the Grizzly football team finished up spring football practices Thursday night inside Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
It was a cool and rainy evening in Missoula as fans gathered to watch the Griz in their final spring scrimmage. The Grizzly defense took advantage of an offense that was missing several key players including senior quarterback and offensive captain Jordan Johnson. The defense racked up seven sacks by six different players, picked off two passes, and held the offense to 190 total yards in a scrimmage that featured about 60 plays.
"I'm just tremendously excited about our defense right now," said Griz head football coach Mick Delaney after the action. "They're flying around, they're playing fast and they're tackling well."
Early in the scrimmage junior safety Jake Dallaserra picked off a pass from Brady Gustafson over the middle of the field. Throughout the rest of the scrimmage the defense made it a long night for the offense with hard hitting physical play. The other big turnover by the defense was an interception from junior cornerback Nate Harris late in the scrimmage on a deep Smithwick-Hann pass that was intended for Ellis Henderson. The defense had plenty to proud of when the scrimmage wrapped up, but most impressively is that they held the offense scoreless the entire night.
"It all starts up front," said Griz senior quarterback Shay Smithwick-Hann. "They get so much pressure on the quarterback that it helps our DB's out and linebackers... they fly around."
"Back to work, back to getting better," explained Griz junior cornerback Nate Harris of the next step for his team. "Now we get in the film room we look at the things we have to work on and that's all we do for the next four months, get stronger, faster and then work on the technical things."
The Griz are now one step closer to the start of the season; the players will now be on their own throughout the summer before returning for fall practices.