Jensen appeared to be the future for the Griz. When Reese Phillips broke his leg three games into the season last year, Jensen came in and started seven games, going 4-3, after appearing in all three nonconference tilts. In those 10 games, the redshirt freshman threw for 2,531 yards, 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and added another six scores on the ground. Jensen was named a HERO Sports Freshman All-American.
With Bobby Hauck returning as head coach this year, it sparked excitement for Montana fans yearning to get back to Big Sky glory and compete deep into the playoffs. In Hauck’s first stint as the head man from 2003-2009, he posted an 80-17 record and won at least a share of the conference title in those seven seasons. Montana has missed the playoffs the last two years.
Jensen was thought to be the guy after his play last season. Three more years with the Auburn, Washington, native under center had Montana looking poised to get back into the playoffs and then some. With Jensen departing, some may say the program has taken a step back in the build back to the top.
After careful consideration and meeting with the staff, I have decided to pursue other opportunities. I would like to thank the University of Montana, my teammates, fans, staff, and equipment/media personnel for an incredible two years. I look forward to the next chapter.
— Gresch Jensen (@GreschJensen) April 23, 2018
But how big of a roadblock will it turn out to be? That will be up to Dalton Sneed, the junior transfer who is going to take over the reigns at quarterback. Even if Jensen remained a Griz, it looked like Sneed passed him on the depth chart when he came out and took reps with the first team to start the spring game.
Sneed started his career at UNLV, where Hauck was the head coach from 2010-2014, and redshirted in 2015. He started six games for the Rebels in 2016 before transferring to Fort Scott Community College last year. Sneed was brought into Montana to push Jensen for the starting job. The job was open for competition, and it’s not as if Jensen had a leg up on the Montana system. Former head coach Bob Stitt ran an up-tempo, air-raid offense that Jensen thrived in, throwing for more than 325 yards in five games.
— Shaun Rainey (@ShaunRainey) November 12, 2017
Hauck brings a more physical, run-first approach. Whether Jensen wasn’t comfortable in the new system, or he saw the writing on the wall that Sneed is inching closer to being named the starter, or he simply wanted a new opportunity, whatever the reason is, Jensen is no longer a Grizzly.
Because it appeared Sneed was fitting into Hauck’s offense better, Montana fans don’t need to hit the panic button. The outlook on the Griz remains the same, and that is to ascend the Big Sky standings and make it back to the playoffs after a 7-4 season.
Dalton Sneed is now the guy to lead that charge. The job may have already been his before today’s news hit.