By Mick Holien
All the anticipation of losing thoughts of a rare losing football season is plenty of motivation for a Grizzly team that looks to dominate a cupcake opener at Washington Grizzly Stadium Saturday.
But while the starting quarterback call goes to a senior who once was highly touted out of the state of Tennessee Reese Phillips is a guy who threw four picks in the spring scrimmage while connecting on 14 of 27 for 140 yards and hasn’t started under center in almost five years.
But for the time being the Kentucky transfer emerged in a battle with Caleb Hill and freshman Gresch Jensen.
Obviously Phillips is the only QB who has taken a Montana snap playing in four games last season with a season high five completions against Mississippi Valley State.
But if he maintains there are no butterflies we know he is sharing the company line. Last year’s experience and scrimmages are nothing like being the guy at the helm but admittedly the bar will be lower than in some seasons.
Maybe as good a baseball player as a gridiron product, Phillips prepped in Chattanooga where he was a two-time all state performer in both sports.
But after winning the state football title as a junior and making the playoffs as a senior when he completed 172 of 274 for 2,274 yards he enjoyed quite a post season being named MVP after hitting 10 for 10 passes in the state’s All-Star game leading his team to a 41-20 verdict.
A converted tight end and defensive back, he was an all-district baseball player as a pitcher and shortstop.
But after redshirting at Kentucky he was relegated to a backup role and although he played in three games as a redshirt freshman he played in just a single game in 2015.
Phillips has a single season of eligibility remaining.
The molly hogs, aka the offensive line, are the strength of this offense.
Converted four position guy Mike Ralston got a lot of hype but nobody mentioned he played for Jordie Johnson’s dad at the fighting Irish at Sheldon High School in Eugene, ore.
It will be odd to see him wear No 51 as he came to Missoula as a highly touted and recruited receiver. It’s a great example of converting your body type and skill set to figure out a way to get on the field and help the team.
The senior is now packing three bills on his six foot five frame. So here we go, just say’n