Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The annual Montana Grizzly football spring game is coming up on Friday, April 7, but fans will find a new wrinkle as they celebrate the return of Griz football.

KGVO News spoke with University of Montana Associate Sports Information Director Eric Taber, who said one face will be very familiar on the sidelines, while others are new to the operation.

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“It's a little bit different,” began Taber. “You've got a kind of reshuffled deck as far as the coaching staff goes. You know, Coach Hauck has new offensive and defensive coordinators but they're not exactly new to the program. They've been within the program  since their time and some have been here almost seems like a lifetime but it's a new supporting staff as well, like a new defensive line coach, that sort of thing.”

Taber said fans will see some familiar faces back for the 2023 football season.

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"A lot of the skill guys are back like Junior Bergen and Garret Graves is entering his senior year at safety," he said. "It'll be fun to see them kind of step up and guys like tight end Cole Grossman. The offensive line is all back. Everybody came back from last year. Chris Walker last year's left tackle is back. He got another year from the NCAA. So you get the entire offensive line back which is always a good sign."

Taber said the game itself will be more like a scrimmage on a pleasant spring evening under the lights.

“It's a scrimmage you know, it's essentially a glorified practice, but we're opening the doors to Washington Grizzly Stadium and inviting fans in to come check out the team and see who's playing what,  and to see the new faces that we just talked about and see how the team looks this year,” he said. “It's all for a good cause because every ticket sold for the spring game this year goes to the Grizzly Scholarship Association and their mission to help raise scholarship dollars for grizzly student athletes.”

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The new wrinkle is sure to delight Griz fans who love to party hearty at the tailgate parties, because this one will actually be inside the stadium.

“The GSA is doing something new,” he said. We've got a new venue that we're opening up next season that feels like a premium seating zone. It's essentially a party deck. And if you've ever spent time on the east side of Washington Grizzly Stadium on that 200 level, they're turning that into a party zone, and so the GSA figured, well, why not have the tailgate for the spring game in that zone and let everybody come in and check it out. Then, if you're seated on that 200 level of the stadium, you can take a beer seltzer or wine or whatever you want to your seat, and watch the scrimmage that way.”

The Grizzly Football Spring Game officially kicks off at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 7 under the lights at Washington Grizzly Stadium.

Tickets are $10 and all proceeds will benefit the Grizzly Scholarship Association.

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