BY JEREMY HOECK
Of all the topics surrounding the University of South Dakota football team for 2012 (new coach, new league, new faces), lost in the shuffle a bit has been the squad’s first task this season: Montana on Saturday.
(We will delve more into Montana later this week when USD head coach Joe Glenn visits Yankton on Wednesday for Quarterback Club)
For now, let’s look at some basics for the Grizzlies:
•• Montana returns seven starters from a team that went 11-3 last season, won the Big Sky Conference title and advanced to the FCS playoffs semifinals — losing to eventual national runner-up Sam Houston State.
•• Glenn coached at Montana from 2000-02 and had a record of 39-6, including back-to-back FCS (then 1-AA) national championship game appearances in 2000 and 2001. The 63-year-old Glenn will be inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame on Sept. 14.
•• As you have may have read, it’s been an eventful off-season for Montana. In wake of sexual assault allegations involving football players, the university fired athletic director Jim O’Day and head coach Robin Pflugard in March. An outside investigation found nine reported attacks between September 2010 and December 2011, with at least three other cases reported since the report was given to the university.
•• 70-year-old Mick Delaney replaced Pflugard as head coach. (Consider the matchup between coaches on Saturday, a 63-year-old facing a 70-year-old).
•• UM quarterback Jordan Johnson, owner of nearly 3,000 total yards last year, was suspended this summer after being formally charged with sexual assault. By all accounts, redshirt freshman Trent McKinney will get the start against the Coyotes on Saturday.
•• The Grizzlies replace three starters on the offensive line, and four each on the defensive line and secondary.
•• Montana has lost a total of one game at home (Washington-Grizzly Stadium) since 2008.
Here is a video with Delaney and tight end Greg Hardy from the Big Sky Conference