We post the Cat-Griz Insider Mailbag every Thursday during the football season. If you have a question pertaining to the Cats, the Griz or the Big Sky Conference, hit us up on Twitter -- @CatGrizInsider or @SlimKimmel -- or email Greg at email@example.com.
* With the events at UM this summer, I wonder if Nate Montana regrets transferring? -- Robert (@mslacat)
Maybe. But Nate never seemed like a real favorite of the coaching staff, regardless of his pedigree. Let’s face it: Nate is not his father. And he never will be. That’s why he’s at Division II West Virginia Wesleyan right now instead of Notre Dame. Or Montana. But at least he’s starting, which I suspect is something he’s always wanted. Wesleyan coach Jonas Jackson, by the way, is Montana’s eighth head coach since his junior year of high school.
Montana left the team before Jordan Johnson’s ordeal became a controversy, so there wasn’t much chance of him even sniffing the starting job. But by the time J.J. was voted expelled and then eventually shelved on a rape charge, Montana still would have had to contend with current starter Trent McKinney. And there’s very little chance Nate would have beat out McKinney for the starting job this year.
* What do you think is the best part of DeNarius McGhee’s game? -- Kyle (via email)
Leadership, for sure. You’re talking about a guy who won 27 consecutive games and a state championship at the 5A level of Texas high school football, and all he’s done in two-plus seasons at Montana State is go 22-6 and throw 52 touchdowns. The guy is a winner, plain and simple. He should leave MSU with virtually every career quarterback record, including wins and touchdown passes.
Physically, McGhee has shown an uncanny ability to make plays when the pocket breaks down. Last week against Stephen F. Austin was a prime example. Here’s what MSU coach Rob Ash had to say about McGhee’s escapability: “It’s remarkable. Our best plays are sometimes the ones that break down. He can get out and create and our guys can get in passing lanes. He can throw on the run, either to his right or his left. It’s a big part of our game. We sort of let it happen and let it dictate when those plays occur.”
* Bobby Hauck’s lack of coaching ability has really been detrimental to his ability to compete -- Shane (@HopeArch)
I don’t know if I’d say a guy who went 80-17 in seven seasons with the Grizzlies has a lack of coaching ability. If you remember, Montana had to scratch and claw for many, many victories in the Hauck era. But they always seemed to find ways to win. In Bobby’s last four years at UM, the Griz lost just one conference game. One.
Having said that, to win at UNLV it takes much more than the same old formula. It takes major patience. You have to recruit, you have to instill a sense of pride, and you have to build a fan base for a program that really has nothing to cheer about right now. I’m not surprised Hauck hasn’t started winning in Vegas yet. I’m not sure if anyone could.
* When was the last time the Bobcats were 4-0? And who has the most passing yards at MSU? -- Justin (@jpearce)
The Bobcats were last 4-0 to start a season in 1978 -- the same year as their last 3-0 start. MSU won their first seven games that season, so however many wins in a row the Bobcats open the season with, the “last time” will always be 1978 … unless they get to 8-0. MSU’s last 8-0 start? The national championship season of 1956.
As for the second part of your question, Travis Lulay is the school’s all-time leader in passing yards with 10,746. Kelly Bradley and Rob Compson rank second and third, respectively, but DeNarius McGhee is lurking at No. 4.