MISSOULA – When Montana Grizzlies head football coach Bobby Hauck was a student at the University of Montana, he became friends with a colleague named Toby.
Many years later, that familiar name reappeared in Hauck’s life. He would welcome his first member of the Fouch family to his football team.
His old friend Toby’s son, Nick, joined the program as a defender. He later transitioned from a game role to a student support role.
“His dad was here in college with Stacy (Hauck’s wife) and I, so we were all friends in college,” Hauck said. “So it was fun having Nick with us when he came here and he helped us with the coaching aspect … and we’ve really enjoyed this family and have known them for a long time.”
But maybe his favourite, at least of late, has to be the youngest – Nash. Coming in just after Nick, he remained present as a hard-hitting defensive end that had a significant impact on UM.
As a junior safety at Griz Secondary, he had high expectations of both himself and the coaching staff for the 2022 campaign. Hauck expected Nash to become a weekly starter and those wishes became a reality.
“Throughout the year it’s been a bit of a three-man rotation at the nickel spot and the boundary safety spot and a few of those guys got beat up here and there, but Nash has actually remained the healthiest of the bunch. said Huck. “So good for him. He’s done a good job, developing and increasing his level of play… I think he’s had a really nice year.”
With three key seniors in secondary school – Robby Hauck, Justin Ford and Jayden Dawson – all set to be ineligible to play after the season, he needs to go one better in 2023.
In a recent interview with 406mtsports.com, Nash spoke about the upcoming transition to senior status, as well as other topics on and off the field.
The interview has been edited for clarity and conciseness.
Q: You stayed healthiest in session two this season, is there a trick or just luck?
A: I mean, part of it depends on the luck of the draw. I’ve been fortunate to stay healthy this year, but a lot of that goes into what you do in the weight room. Like Coach Hauck says, prehab stuff, take care. So, lots of stretching, lots of quick twitch stuff in the weight room to stay healthy and strong.
Q: What were your expectations at the start of the season and do you feel you have met them at this point?
A: I wanted to take on a bigger role than I’ve had in the last two seasons. One thing I’ve been working on a lot over the past year is to be more physical and I’ve kind of embraced that this year and I think I’ve done a pretty good job. Especially in the last month or so.
Q: With Justin, Robby and Jayden all gone, how will you approach a leadership role?
A: I learned a lot. I’ve had a lot of great leadership over the years with Even Epperly, Josh Sandry and Robby Hauck, especially in the safe room. I started tackling it a bit this year. Obviously Robby was here and he’s this guy and he’s really cool to play with, but I’m also really looking forward to taking on that leadership role in the security room next year and it’s going to be fun.
Q: What does it include? What makes Robby a good leader that you want to transfer to yourself?
A: Robby is a real role model. He brings energy every day. He obviously brings physicality to every game, every practice. It’s easy to follow a guy who really puts everything on the line every day, so I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned from him. You have to have energy if you want to take the boys with you.
Q: I know your brother was on a team with you once, then in a coaching role. What was it like having him here and doing it together?
A: It was cool. So my father went to school here. He didn’t play football here, but coming to school here and having him on the team was nice. It helped me meet people and made things more enjoyable when I was young. Having him as an assistant was cool too, talking about football at home and hanging out and stuff, but it was a cool experience.
Q: Did your father go to school here influence your decision to come here?
A: Yes. When I was deciding where to go I spent a lot of time between different schools and Montana was one of my last offers so I had seen a lot of other places but I had spent a lot of time in Missoula since having a kid going to Griz -Play is coming. We have a really cool picture at my dad’s house of me and my brother and our two best friends when we were very little in the north end zone and then there’s a picture of me in my red shirt freshman year and all the same place and same pose. I’ve loved it here since I was a kid.
Q: How is the playoff approach different than the regular season approach this week with the playoffs?
A: We approach everything the same way. We will always come out with the same energy and focus. I think the only thing that’s a little bit different is the nerves, because if you lose you’re done for, and no one wants to be done for… Coach Coop (Roger Cooper – Safety Coach) always says, “Nerves are a good thing.” If you’re not nervous, you don’t care.” So I think next Saturday you should embrace the nerves a bit, but try to keep it to a minimum during the week to stay focused.
Q: Now let’s do some fun ones to wrap up. I know you play guitar, when did you get into it and how?
A: I actually only started here towards the end of my freshman year. My brother had one, one day I got bored and picked it up and barely played for a while. And then COVID hit at the end of my sophomore year and my old roommates hated me for it – well, my current roommate Cole Grossman and my old roommate Nick Germer – and they hated me for it because I was really bad, but COVID started and I did got really into it and I started playing with Gabe Longin who is really good and really got me into it. He taught me the ropes and I got a lot better playing with him.
Q: What are you playing?
A: Lately I’ve been looking into rock and the blues stuff because it’s a bit heavier and more advanced but also a bit frustrating.
Q: Do you have a favorite musician and a favorite song?
A: It changes, especially when you play music, it changes all the time. I’d love to be able to just rip Stevie Ray Vaughan songs one day, but it’s quite difficult. But right now it’s probably what I listen to the most just because I’m interested in learning it.
Q: Now some random questions. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A: All around the world? That is a difficult question. I don’t know, I really want to learn how to surf and stuff, so if I could be like a beach bum in Australia or something, that would be pretty cool.
Q: What is your dream job?
A: Of course it would be cool to be a musician. Being rich and famous and playing in front of people all the time would be pretty cool.