Griz chosen to win Big Sky – O’Connell Preseason Defensive MVP


Two very good news stories have emerged from the annual Big Sky Conference kickoff held in Spokane which concluded this weekend.

On Monday, Sports Information Director for Football Eric Taber shared the news with KGVO.

“We’re here in Spokane,” Taber began. “It’s Big Sky kickoff and the big news this morning is that the Montana Grizzlies have been chosen by league media and coaches to win the (Big Sky Conference) title this year. Coach Houck always talks about the RTD, back to dominance, that’s what he means, that’s where the Montana Grizzlies want to be number one in the poll, but at the same time, that’s just talking, n “Right? We have to go because our players and our coaches know that it’s the end-of-season ballot that counts.”

Taber explained the reasons why the University of Montana Grizzlies were chosen to win the conference title.

“Montana is returning some really good players this year,” he said. “I mean, you look at our defense and we have Patrick O’Connell, you have Justin Ford back, you have Robbie Houck as well as a lot of really good players coming back. On offense, a lot of people forget about Marcus Knight. A few years ago, Marcus Knight was breaking school records for touchdowns and he’s back from his injury now so we hope he comes back.

Other good news also included Grizzly linebacker Patrick O’Connell.

“The other big news is that I just mentioned a second ago that linebacker Patrick O’Connell who was a finalist last year for the Buck Buchanan Award. Well, Patrick was named preseason defensive MVP He’s a linebacker and that’s pretty cool because four of the last five defensive MVPs in the preseason have been Montana linebackers, so it’s pretty good that Pat earns that accolade. a very good player and he is going to have a very good year.

Taber said the closet is full when it comes to good preseason news for the Montana Grizzlies.

“We also have five guys in total chosen to be part of the pre-season squad,” he said. “Malik Flowers, our kick return specialist has broken several records, and he’s just a star. He’s on preseason, the whole Big Sky team with Justin Ford, who I mentioned is a cornerback. He had nine interceptions last year. He is also part of the pre-season squad. Alex Gubner is a defensive tackle and he’s a junior this year, so being a preseason pick is a big honor for him. And then there’s Robbie Houck. Of course, he’s on course to become Montana’s all-time leading tackle in his senior season.

Click here to see the entire All-Big Sky preseason squad.

The Grizzlies open their home season Labor Day weekend at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3 as they host the Northwestern State Demons in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

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