Andrew Selle won't miss the 110th Griz-Cat football game, but he'll certainly miss playing in it.
Selle, a senior out of Billings West, began the season as Montana's starting quarterback and one of two Walter Payton Award candidates.
Now he's more or less the quarterbacks coach for the No. 11 Montana Grizzlies, who battle Montana State Saturday in the "Brawl of the Wild." He'll have a headset on when the game kicks off at 12:05 p.m. MST inside Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
"I'd be a liar if I didn't say I was dying to be out there on the field for this one," said Selle, who suffered a career-ending shoulder injury Sept. 25 in UM's homecoming win over Sacramento State. "But it's still another game, and I'll still be doing the same thing on the sidelines."
Selle, whose breakout campaign in 2009 helped the Griz reach the FCS title game, threw for 599 yards and five touchdowns in four games this season. He was hurt just before halftime of UM's 28-25 win over Sac State.
Michael Rider, a high school teammate of Selle's who plays linebacker for MSU, called soon after.
"Andrew Selle is one of my best friends," said Rider, a senior. "I talked to him the day of, and just kind of wished him luck. I think the world of Andrew and am bummed that he won't play Saturday.
"I know the rivalry means us much to him as it does to me."
Selle has found that a headset fits just as well as a helmet, and hopes it signals an early transition into the coaching fraternity.
"I'm excited to start my coaching career," he said. "I've had a lot of fun and enjoyed being on the sidelines. I thank Coach (Robin) Pflugrad and Coach (Jonathan) Smith for allowing me to be a part of that, and be on the headset and give my input."
Selle reportedly had plenty of input at halftime of the Grizzlies' 27-17 win over North Dakota last week, though what was said remains mysterious. Defensive tackle Tyler Hobbs made it clear that Selle didn't mince words.
Selle didn't on Tuesday, either, at UM's weekly press conference.
It was a year ago that he threw for three touchdowns in Montana's 33-19 win over MSU in Bozeman. Justin Roper, who took over as starter this season, also had a TD pass in the game.
"It is truly a different speed and a different physicality to this game," said Selle. "I think it will really benefit Justin to have played in it last year."
Selle also has taken the lead in "No Shave November," in which the Griz have gone for the "Super Trooper" look.
Selle blamed senior running back Chase Reynolds, who had been wearing a full beard, for starting it.
"Chase showed up at practice one day and he has a moustache," said Selle. "And I was like, ‘Chase - why didn't you tell me this. I went home the next day and shaved my beard. And the next week we all huddled down in the locker room with ‘Just For Men' and darkened these things up."
Hobbs, sporting a Fu Manchu, nodded. Receiver Jeff Larson just shrugged, protesting that he needed to know about "No Shave November" in October if he was going to participate.
"I need a month," he said.
Larson is another senior, out of Cut Bank.
"I was talking to my brother and he said, ‘Is it weird knowing this could be your last game, for sure your last Cat-Griz game?' " Larson said. "It hadn't really dawned on me."
Larson said he was among several Griz who received a text message from a certain Atlanta Falcons rookie safety.
"Shann Schillinger sent us all a text (Monday)," Larson said. "‘Prepare this week like you've never prepared before because it's a special moment in your lives, one you'll never forget.' I take those words to heart."
QUICK KICKS: Weather update: Saturday's forecast now calls for a high of 20 degrees with a 70 percent chance of snow. ... The Bobcats are averaging 476.4 yards a game. In 1984 they averaged 447.4 per game. ...Still no announcement from Idaho State on Mike Kramer, but sources continue to say Kramer, formerly the head coach at Eastern Washington and MSU, will be the Bengals' next coach. ... Montana ranks third nationally in pass defense, allowing just 140.2 yards per game, and 10th in total defense with a 291-yard average. Both marks lead the Big Sky.
Fritz Neighbor can be reached at 523-5247 or at email@example.com.