Spring will be crucial for building Montana’s safety depth


At the end of the 2017 season, it looked like one of the biggest trouble spots on the Montana football roster would be on the back end of the Griz defense.

With Justin Strong, Mick Delaney and Korey Alexander all graduating and highly touted recruit Isiahia Banks leaving the program, the Grizzlies were down to just three safeties — returning starter Josh Sandry, along with Michael McGinnis and Evan Epperly.

It was an especially difficult situation for Bobby Hauck to inherit. The rehired Griz coach had started his coaching career as a defensive backs coach at Montana in 1988. His brother, Tim Hauck, played over a decade in the NFL at safety and is now the safeties coach for the Philadelphia Eagles.

And, in his first go-round as head coach at UM, Hauck’s teams had consistently excellent safeties.

In the seven seasons Hauck coached his alma mater from 2003-2009, the Grizzlies placed six safeties on All-Big Sky first teams, including Colt Anderson and Shann Schillinger, who both went on to play in the NFL.

Now, Schillinger, in his third year as Montana’s safety coach, is tasked with carrying on that legacy.

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Andrew Hougthton is a freelance journalist living in Missoula. Photos by Lacey Young. All Rights Reserved. 

About Andrew Houghton

Andrew Houghton grew up in Washington, DC. He graduated from the University of Montana journalism school in December 2015 and spent time working on the sports desk at the Daily Tribune News in Cartersville, Georgia, before moving back to Missoula and becoming a part of Skyline Sports in early 2018.

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