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It's easy: Open mouth, insert foot

 


It's pretty simple, really. Anyone can do it. I know because I do it all the time. Here's the instructions: Open mouth wide and insert foot. Wearing a shoe is optional.

Yep, I didn't just put my foot in my mouth with my flurry of taunts, insults and jabs directed toward the Montana State Bobcats and their fans. I jammed both feet and most of my lower legs in as well.

Can you blame me? It started out so simply. A comment here, a taunt there, an insult here, a meth reference there. It was so easy. And it was somewhat deserved after the amount of abuse I took following last year's Cat-Griz game.

Call me confident, cocky, even arrogant (many people have and still do), but I had every right to be all three and more with the way the Griz were playing. After a shaky start to the season, UM steamrolled to four straight wins in impressive fashion.

Quarterback Craig Ochs seemed to have steadied the offense, and running backs Justin Green and Lex Hilliard powered a strong rushing attack.

Conversely, the Cats were muddling their way through the end of the season with a sputtering offense and relying mainly on defense and special teams to get wins.

Plus, the Griz were motivated by revenge for last season's loss and the possibility of home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

No contest, right?

It was a lock, a stone-cold, lead-pipe lock to be a win for the Griz.

Yet, here I sit, a broken, bitter, resentful young man.

As if the game weren't bad enough, I think the abuse I took afterward was worse. I wasn't kicked when I was down, I was pummeled.

Approximately 12 seconds after the final horn sounded and the Bobcat student section was clamoring up the goal posts, I was greeted by a trio of Bobcat fans who'd been watching the game down the street. They came to my parents' house specifically to find me and watch me choke on all the negative words I'd either written or said about MSU in the past year.

I should have locked the doors.

How could I have been reduced to this broken shell of a Griz fan?

Well, it's simple, really. I watched as bad calls and worse play calling doomed the Grizzlies, despite their domination of the Cats in every statistical category except the score.

Bad calls are a part of any game. They just get magnified more in big games. Both teams had calls go against them, but no call was bigger than the apparent fumble by MSU tight end Blake Wolf. Officials ruled that Wolf was down on contact, but replays clearly showed it was a fumble.

The missed call kept MSU's drive alive, which later led to a Bruce Molock touchdown run.

However, a couple of questionable calls that went against MSU, a pass interference penalty in particular, helped the Griz score a late touchdown. Bad calls usually have a way of evening themselves out in the end. It's a shame that bad play calling doesn't.

First, I very rarely criticize coaching decisions. I have been a coach and I've also seen firsthand the type of work, preparation and long hours that go into each week. So I am very cautious about second-guess coaching decisions, especially in print.

But this time, a higher football authority pointed out some shortcomings in the Grizzly offensive play calling.

This wealth of football knowledge was also responsible for all the food at the party.

The football guru was my mom.

To be perfectly honest, you could take what my mom knows about football and maybe fill a thimble. She watched all my high school games and went to plenty of Griz games, but most times she's more concerned about concessions than cornerbacks and people watching instead of play action.

Still, it was my mom who pointed out some serious flaws in UM's red zone play calling.

"Why are they throwing the ball now?" she said. "Didn't they get all the way down the field running the ball?"

You might as well give her a headset and a clipboard because she was right.

At times, UM shows severe inconsistencies in its play calling sprinkled with some lack of imagination and predictability in terms of formations and tendencies.

Don't get me wrong. I am not one of those Griz fans who one minute claim they run too much and in the next breath complain that they aren't running enough.

It's as if the Griz coaches don't really know what type of offense they want to be. The same problem plagued Montana State in the 1990s. One minute, they are run heavy and the next they scrap the run and go strictly pass. The change happened twice when Montana got inside the 10-yard line.

I won't sit and dwell on that game any longer, mainly because I want to put my fist through my computer screen thinking about it.

What's worse than watching a Bobcat fan celebrate a win over the Griz? It's watching a hairy, shirtless Bobcat fan celebrate a win over the Griz. I heard she was nice, though.

But it stops now. The comments, the insults and the teasing end today. Even if the Griz make it further in the playoffs, I am done with Bobcats jokes. No more "mething" with MSU.

I am eating my words and they taste like my foot. Never again, not next year, or the year after that. Not even if the Grizzlies win the national championship and I am there.

OK, maybe then I might consider it. Who am I kidding?

It's too easy. Open mouth, insert foot.

Enough said.

 

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