MISSOULA — All of Griz football had a long wait before retaking the field in 2021, but Cole Grossman's wait might trump them all.
Grossman, a tight end, joined the UM program in 2018 but grayshirted. In 2019, Grossman moved to linebacker and broke his foot against Oregon in his lone game that season, so he utilized his redshirt year. Then in 2020, like everyone else, his season was canceled as he made the move back to tight end.
But in 2021, he finally got his chance, and ended up as one of UM's breakout stars from the season.
"Just waiting for the opportunity, I guess," Grossman said. "Wait until it comes, practice hard. Even if you're not playing, you're still part of the team, so even if you're a practice guy, anything like that, you have to be ready for your opportunity because people go down, people get hurt, stuff happens and sometimes your chance might come up."
The waiting process wasn't easy, but the Vancouver, Washington, native had plenty of help to make it work.
"It was tough but I had a lot of teammates that I grew bonds with and it was fun outside of football," Grossman said. "Coming in everyday knowing I probably wasn't going to play but it was still fun with the team aspect and being apart of the team and winning games, stuff like that."
That wait paid off well for Grossman and Montana.
In seeing his first major minutes on the field, Grossman caught 37 passes in the fall for 463 yards and five touchdowns. Hero Sports named Grossman to the FCS freshman All America team for his efforts.
"I think if you work for something, it shows up," Grossman said. "If you don't work for something, it's not going to help out so I just put my head down and try my best to be the best at everything. It doesn't work every time, nobody's perfect, but trying your best to be the best definitely helped me out a lot."
As a tight end, Grossman is also tasked with blocking more, something he said he's actively focusing on to help grow his game. He said he's trying to put on more weight to help in that regard while working on his technique to help in the trenches.
And as spring football winds to a close, Grossman, who will enter the fall listed as a redshirt sophomore, is a prime example of what waiting for your opportunity looks like to younger players looking to crack UM's rotations this coming fall.
"My head was spinning the first two years I was here, I was scared all of the time, didn't know what I was doing running from drill to drill," Grossman said. "But now you get into the motion in a couple years you get to go play and get to play free and stuff like that and so I think that's a tough thing for the younger guys. You're so scared to make mistakes but it's OK to make mistakes. You just get coached and you have to throw the bad play away and go onto the next one.
"I think spring ball is the best time to get better and perfecting your craft. I think a lot of people get into their heads about making everything perfect but it's OK to make mistakes at this time. You watch film and correct your mistakes and just get better at them. I think that's the best part. No one's perfect. No one's the best player out here and that's the whole point. You want to be the best player out here so you're hard on yourself. I think just taking it day-by-day, film everyday, and you just have to get better so it takes time."