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122009 mariani runs tb.jpg
Montana receiver Marc Mariani is hit by Villanova’s Ross Ventrone as he runs down field after catching a pass as tackle Montana’s Rob Overton, right, looks to make a block. Photo by TOM BAUER/Missoulian

It's interesting in an oddball sort of way.

Recent NFL drafts have given us a rudimentary glimpse of how others view Montana and Griz football. Guys like Lex Hilliard, Kroy Biermann, Shann Schillinger and Marc Mariani have helped put the Treasure State on the map for something other than mountains and fly fishing.

But if blog sites are your source, beware of distortion. As in not much better than scribbles on a bathroom wall.

Consider a recent post on Schillinger, a sixth-round draft pick by the Atlanta Falcons:

"Hailing from the single-stoplight town of Baker, Shann came to big-city Bozeman with quite a prep school resume."

Another blogger claims Shann is a sure thing because "Missoula is a killer town." Is that good or bad? And while on the subject, is one assessment of "Shannwow" worth more because it ran in the "Missourian?"

My least favorite blog buffoon lamented the fact Atlanta picked two white guys in a row. Perhaps Shann needs a deep summer tan to set this fanatic at ease.

Fortunately for Schillinger, he has a clean record and comes from a good family. It helps the strong safety to avoid nasty innuendos from blogsters and team officials.

Like the kind directed at Dallas Cowboys draft pick Dez Bryant by Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland during an interview back in March. He wanted to know if Bryant's mother, who has had trouble with drugs and the law, was a prostitute.

"I can see if you've had a little trouble they examine you pretty hard and put you through the ropes," Schillinger said.

"I met with a couple GMs and most people were really good about Montana. They kind of crack a joke here and there, like for example, ‘Do you ride a horse?' But one thing I think they do realize is we play good football up here and they acknowledge that."

The Tennessee Titans were graded out at D on one website for drafting Mariani in the seventh round. He'll most likely find himself on the practice squad, one blogger predicted.

Others are more excited about the Havre speedster, but have a little trouble with his name.

"This Macaroni kid is easily the best returner in the nation, and we got a steal drafting him in the 7th round."

What's scary is that some people reading blogs don't take into account the source. They don't realize some websites are un-edited havens for haters and half-truths.

Reputable news outlets such as the Washington Post have already changed their policies on blogs. Others are pondering the wisdom of allowing comments to be posted anonymously.

Not that blog propaganda matters much to someone like Schillinger. He's been in Arnold Schwarzenegger Mode since the Falcons called last weekend.

"Every time you walk in the weight room now you know where you're going and you know you're doing it for a purpose," he said. "Going into the draft you didn't know what was going to happen. ‘Am I wasting my time? What's going on?'

"Now I've got a little motivation trying to make the team and I've been hitting it hard ever since."

Sadly, I'll never get a call from the Falcons or Titans. But now that spring is here, I've got yard work to do, and that should keep me from further brain damage caused by bloggers.

Bill Speltz can be reached at 523-5255 or at bill.speltz@lee.net

 

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