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Fetherston To Wear No. 37, Griz Captains Named
The legacy continues. The University of Montanafs Ryan Fetherston has been chosen to wear the number 37 during the 2011 football season.
Griz head coach Robin Pflugrad made the announcement last night at a team meeting following Thursdayfs final practice in Missoula before the team leaves for Knoxville for their season opener against the University of Tennessee, Saturday, Sept. 3.
Fetherston, a 6-4, 235-pound senior defensive end from East Helena, got a call from the former Griz player who wore that number, Carson Bender, yesterday as Coach Pflugrad was talking to his squad in the stands in Washington-Grizzly Stadium after practice.
gHaving Carson call during the team meeting meant a lot to all of us, especially Ryan,h Pflugrad said. gWe all feel that it is a deserving honor, and I know for a fact that he has the blessing of the coaching staff and our entire football team to continue the legacy of wearing that number. It will be great to see number 37 on the field again this fall.h
Bender, who wore number 37 from 2008-10, is now a teacher in Helena. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound defensive tackle from Deer Lodge, had his promising career cut short prior to the 2010 season because of a leg injury. Bender was chosen to wear number 37 by former Griz linebacker Loren Utterback from Fort Benton, who wore the number from 2004-07.
The tradition began back in the mid-80Œs and was started by former player Kraig Paulson, a fullback from Plentywood, who was number 37 from 1983-86. Paulson handed down the number 37 to Tim Hauck in 1987.
Hauck (1987-89) raised the bar high for those who don the number 37. The former defensive back from Big Timber was a two-time All-American while at Montana, and then he went on to play in the National Football League for 12 seasons.
Other players who have worn number 37 include linebacker Jason Crebo (1994-97, from Helena), defensive back Todd Ericson (1990-93, from Butte), defensive end Andy Petek (1998-200, from Helena), and defensive end Ciche Pitcher (2001-03, from Anaconda).
McKnight, McSurdy, Opperud named Griz Captains
Kicker/punter Brody McKnight, linebacker Caleb McSurdy, and offensive tackle Jon Opperud have been selected team captains for The University of Montana for the 2011 season, announced Griz head coach Robin Pflugrad.
Pflugrad added that two players, Bobby Alt and Sam Gratton, were chosen as alternate captains. He also said that there will be on additional captain for each contest, with that honor going to the gplayer of the gameh against the Grizzliesf most recent opponent.
gThe team votes on our team captains, and they did well in choosing these student-athletes to represent the University of Montana and our football team this season,h Pflugrad said.
Last season McKnight, a senior from Vancouver, B.C., made 14-of-18 field goals and was a second team All-Big Sky Conference pick at placekicker. He was the co-recipient of UMfs annual Steve Carlson Award (MVP). McKnight also punted for the Grizzlies last season, averaging 38.5 yards per attempt. He was ranked 16th (tie) in the FCS with 1.27 field goals per game, and 22nd in scoring (7.55 ppg).
A returning starter, McSurdy had a team-high 112 tackles last season and was fourth with 7.5 tackles for loss. He was a second team All-Big Sky selection. The senior from Boise, Idaho, has been an all-league academic team pick for the third year in a row.
Opperud is starting for the third season in a row. Last year the senior from Portland, Ore., started in 10 of 11 games at left tackle. He started at guard as a sophomore. He is one of the main reasons the Grizzlies have been ranked among the offensive leaders in the FCS the past two seasons.
Alt, a senior from Ontario, Calif., is starting at defensive end for the second year in a row. He started in nine games last season and was the Grizzliesf 10th (tie) leading tackler with 40 stops. He is also an outstanding student, and was named to the All-District 7 academic team, maintaining a 3.90 grade point average.
A junior wide receiver from Billings, Gratton is also starting for the second season in a row. He was fifth on the team with 28 receptions and tied for third on the squad with the most touchdown catches (four). He was named to All-Big Skyfs academic team a year ago.
by Daniel Mediate, Game Day Kaimin