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Pflugrad looks forward to getting a look at Griz QBs
The first thing you need to know about the opening of fall drills for the Montana Grizzlies is the first practice will be Tuesday, Aug. 9, and not on Monday as in previous years.
The second thing is fans will have five more uniform numbers to track: The limit for fall invitees for the Football Championship Subdivision has been increased from 90 to 95.
Thirdly, the first scrimmage will be on a Sunday: Aug. 14, most likely at 3 p.m.
That will be the next chance to for second-year Griz coach Robin Pflugrad to take stock of an unclear quarterback situation.
He’d rather not have all this time off in between.
“We’re right where spring left off,” said Pflugrad, who had sophomore Jordon Johnson, junior transfer Nate Montana, junior Gerald Kemp and freshman Shay Smithwick-Hann sharing snaps. “I haven’t seen our quarterbacks throw one pass this summer. That would be illegal.
“Don’t ask me if that rule’s a valid rule, because I’ll probably violate some other rule being passionate about how stupid of a rule it is.”
The NCAA puts a limit on the time football coaches can supervise players, and that includes the summer “skelly” (7-on-7) scrimmage programs.
Pflugrad would like coaches to have a little more oversight for safety reasons. The strength coach can supervise weight-room workouts, but once the players get outside, they’re being trusted to do the right thing.
“Everybody’s concerned about safety and the latest movements toward concussions and equipment,” Pflugrad said. “But there’s no one to supervise what drills they’re doing. We can’t control it. It’s really hypocritical to me. And you can print that.”
Pflugrad won’t just have questions at quarterback but at receiver, where the Griz have both knowns like Sam Gratton, Bryce Carver and Antwon Moutra but unknowns like Mitch Sayler, Sean Haynes, Aaron Roberts and yes, Jabin Sambrano.
Sambrano is a big-play receiver when he’s healthy, and he was second on the Griz last season with 39 receptions. But Pflugrad hopes for much more out of the senior-to-be.
“He’s missed portions of many games in his career here,” Pflugrad said. “His career has been off the charts at certain times and,‘Where the heck is he?’ at other times.
“Most of that time he’s been on the sidelines with an injury. He needs to be a difference maker in the game on every play that he’s in.”
Sambrano ended up second on the Grizzlies in receptions in 2010 with 39, for 584 yards. Moutra had 36 catches for 600 yards. Carver and Gratton combined for 59 catches and nine touchdowns last season, when the Griz went 7-4.
The Grizzlies’ opener at Tennessee still has the pay-per-view status but UM’s other 10 games will be shown live.
All eight Big Sky Conference games will be shown live on KPAX and its affiliates, while two other nonleague games - Cal Poly on Sept. 10 and Western Oregon on Nov. 5 - will be on CW-TV. That’s a sister station to KPAX.
“Montana is one of the few Division I schools playing at the Football Championship Subdivision level to have all of its games available either through statewide television or via pay-for-view, and we are proud of that fact,” Montana athletic director Jim O’Day said in a statement.
QUICK KICKS: Pflugrad said another member of the 2011 signing class won’t be at camp - Shelby quarterback Chase White notified the staff on Tuesday that he wasn’t coming to UM. … The first scrimmage, on Aug. 14, coincides with Montana’s first two-a-day. The Griz will practice at 8:30 a.m. ahead of their 3 p.m. scrimmage. … On days with a single practice they’ll go at 2 p.m. … The Grizzlies also have scrimmages scheduled for 10:10 a.m. on Aug. 20 and 9:15 a.m. on Aug. 25. The latter is the same day as the Great Grizzly Encounter where fans meet the team at Caras Park.
By FRITZ NEIGHBOR, The Missoulian