Grizzlies' defense "frustrated and disappointed"

2013-11-06T03:00:00Z Grizzlies' defense "frustrated and disappointed"Greg Rachac The Billings Gazette

Things are going pretty good for the Grizzlies on offense right now. They average nearly 40 points per game, and quarterback Jordan Johnson is throwing touchdown passes left and right without turning the ball over.

But coach Mick Delaney knows the tide must turn on defense if the Griz are to get where they want to go. And he said as much on Tuesday:

“We’re way too inconsistent on defense, and we have to be better if want to accomplish our goals. We need to be better in coverage and put more pressure on the quarterback with our four-man rush. You can’t blitz all the time in order to get pressure. Our tackling was horrible against Eastern Washington, but it wasn’t that bad (against Sac State). We just need to be more consistent and be able to cover whether we’re in man or zone, and put pressure on the QB so he doesn’t have time to pick us apart.”

Here's a look at Montana's defensive statistics in the past two weeks against Eastern Washington and Sacramento State:

Opponent Rush yards Pass yards Total yards Total TDs Result
E. Washington 83 457 540 6 L, 42-37
at Sac State 168 412 580 6 W, 51-48
TOTALS 251   869 1,120   12  --

Broken down, the Grizzlies have given up averages of 560 total yards and 46.5 points in their past two games. Yikes. Granted, they were going up against two pretty dynamic QBs in Eastern's Vernon Adams and Sac's Garrett Safron, who both had career days. Montana's saving grace last week at Sacramento State was both efficiency on offense (they put up 470 total yards and averaged 7.0 yards per play) and takeaways (UM stole the ball three times). 

Safety Matt Hermanson and defensive end Zack Wagenmann each forced two fumbles. Hermanson, who played his best game of the year, ripped the ball from running back Ezekiel Graham after delivering a big hit, which killed a Hornets drive inside the red zone early in the first quarter. It proved crucial.

Second-year coordinator Ty Gregorak explained to The Missoulian the urgent mindset surrounding Montana's defense and what it must do fix its issues in advance of the game against an improved South Dakota team Saturday. Said Gregorak:

“What’s frustrating and maddening is that one series we can call the defense and execute it to perfection. And then the next series, or two series later, we can call the exact same call and one missed tackle here or a wrong fit there and it’s a 35-yard touchdown.

“If you look at a lot of the big plays, there’s guys close. We need to make plays. I’ll never blame someone that plays on this defense. I blame myself first and foremost. I need to do a better job. We need to constantly emphasize tackling. They’ve got to go finish tackles and run through ball carriers as opposed to reaching and grabbing. Take that extra step.

“I can promise you we will work our butts off to try to get this thing right. I expect our team to get better this week. I really do. I know the defense is ticked. We’re definitely frustrated and disappointed. This time of the year we should be playing our best football and we’re not."

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More from the Gazette

First look: South Dakota State 47, Bobcats 40

First look: South Dakota State 47, Bobcats 40

November 29, 2014 5:22 pmLoading…
Cats and Griz at a glance

Cats and Griz at a glance

November 28, 2014 2:45 pmLoading…
A closer look at South Dakota State RB Zach Zenner

A closer look at South Dakota State RB Zach Zenner

November 24, 2014 8:00 pmLoading…
First look: Griz 34, Cats 7

First look: Griz 34, Cats 7

November 22, 2014 6:12 pm Related

Related

Loading…
Cat-Griz '14: Making every point count

Cat-Griz '14: Making every point count

November 18, 2014 8:00 pmLoading…
First look: Bobcats 44, Idaho State 39

First look: Bobcats 44, Idaho State 39

November 15, 2014 4:48 pmLoading…
Big Sky Football: Five games to watch

Big Sky Football: Five games to watch

November 11, 2014 4:10 pmLoading…
First look: Bobcats 29, Portland State 22

First look: Bobcats 29, Portland State 22

November 08, 2014 5:11 pmLoading…
Big Sky Football: Five games to watch

Big Sky Football: Five games to watch

November 04, 2014 3:30 pmLoading…
Big Sky Football: Five games to watch

Big Sky Football: Five games to watch

October 28, 2014 5:15 pmLoading…
Big Sky Football: Five games to watch

Big Sky Football: Five games to watch

October 22, 2014 4:30 pmLoading…
First look: Bobcats 23, Weber State 13

First look: Bobcats 23, Weber State 13

October 18, 2014 6:23 pmLoading…
Prukop and the Payton: Who has the edge?

Prukop and the Payton: Who has the edge?

October 15, 2014 9:00 pmLoading…
Big Sky Football: Five games to watch

Big Sky Football: Five games to watch

October 15, 2014 12:00 pmLoading…
Big Sky Football: Five games to watch

Big Sky Football: Five games to watch

October 07, 2014 3:36 pmLoading…

Cat-Griz Insider Blog

The Cat-Griz Insider blog is the one-stop spot on the Web for all the news and opinions pertaining to Montana Grizzly and Montana State Bobcat athletics. Comments are open!

Contributors

Greg Rachac

Sportswriter for The Billings Gazette covering Montana and Montana State athletics in addition to various high school sports.

Slim Kimmel

Online sports editor for The Billings Gazette.

Get weekly ads via e-mail

Deals & Offers

Featured Businesses