MISSOULA — Montana redshirt sophomore Dylan Cook stepped away from football but couldn’t stay away.
The Butte High grad left MSU-Northern after the 2017 season with no team to go to. He later accepted a walk-on offer from the Griz, although the catch was that he’d be playing on the offensive line instead of quarterback.
After sitting out last season because of a transfer rule, the 6-foot-6, 285-pound Cook saw some first-team reps at right tackle and left tackle in fall camp. His hard work, improvement and potential importance to the team led him to earning a scholarship last week.
Meet Dylan Cook:
Q: The day you got put on scholarship, did you have any idea that was going to happen in the team meeting?
A: I had no clue. We just do trivia, and I was trying to get the questions right. Turns out I got that one wrong. It was about the last walk-on to earn a scholarship. (Coach Bobby Hauck) said it was me.
Q: What answer did you give?
A: I said Kyle Davis. He’s like, ‘Nope, it’s Dylan Cook.’ I was like, ‘What?’
Q: What was the feeling like in that moment of earning the scholarship?
A: I was just super excited. It didn’t hit me until my teammates started going crazy. Then I was like, ‘Wait. Oh, that’s cool.’ I just went crazy. Had to call my parents and my brother. I was just excited.
Q: Now you have a scholarship, so how do you keep yourself motivated going forward?
A: Just getting the starting spot. I’m a 2 right now. We’re doing a great job on the O-line. It’s tough competition, so I just got to keep doing my part.
Q: Why did you want to transfer from Northern to Montana?
A: Better opportunity. Bigger football. More serious football. They said it was O-line, and it didn’t make any difference. I didn’t think twice. I said, ‘I’ll take it.’ I love football too much to just be done.
Q: So you were done with football there before you even had this opportunity?
A: Yeah, I left Northern. I just wasn’t good mentally. Just didn’t know what I wanted to do yet. Just got the opportunity here and took full advantage of it.
Q: What happened that you left?
A: Just wasn’t feeling good. Just wasn’t feeling good about the situation.
Q: Now you’re here, you’re playing O-line, what’s the transition and learning process been like?
A: Mainly it’s just technique because as the quarterback I had to know everything there is to know about a defense. Mainly after that, being a quarterback, I was supposed to stay tall. Now, I got to stay low. Being a quarterback, I had quick feet, so I have to have quick feet now, too. There’s not much difference. It’s just technique.
Q: You probably had to add weight to play O-line, right?
A: Yeah. I came in at 257, something like that. I’m up to 290 now.
Q: You’re the only player on the roster from Butte. What does ‘Butte tough’ mean to you?
A: I didn’t live there my whole life. I only moved there in eighth grade, so I really had to make my own form of ‘Butte tough’ with everyone already having their friend groups and just being the odd man out. It means a lot to me being ‘Butte tough’ now because I know what it means and I know the history of Butte. It’s a pretty tough saying. There’s a lot of tradition behind just those two words.
Q: So where are you from?
A: I was born in Philadelphia. We moved to Deer Lodge because that’s where my mom’s from. Then moved to Anaconda when I was in seventh grade and then moved to Butte. So a lot of moving around.
Q: Before games, what’s your go-to music?
A: Definitely Biggie. Go listen to Notorious B.I.G. because we just gets me right in the mindset.
Q: Favorite songs?
A: 'Who Shot Ya?' and 'Long Kiss Goodnight' are his two bangers for me.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do outside of football?
A: I love playing FIFA. Soccer on the XBOX, love it. It’s a fun game. It’s pretty much all my off-time.
Q: Do you watch a lot of soccer?
A: My favorite team’s PSG (Paris Saint-Germain), so I watch a lot of their games. I watched a lot of the UEFA until they got knocked out. Other than that, I don’t really watch much soccer outside of them.
Q: Are there a lot of soccer fans on the team?
A: Not really. It’s kind of just me. I talk about it, but no one else really. They know who’s who and some guys and some teams. I’m probably only one of the big soccer fans.
Q: Any unique hobbies or talents?
A: I could dunk a basketball, which isn’t very shocking, except for my weight. I played the saxophone for five years, but I don’t play it anymore.
Q: How old were you when you played the saxophone?
A: It was fourth grade to eighth grade. It was pretty fun at the time. I just got to high school and was really busy with sports.
Q: How old were you the first time you dunked?
A: It was my sophomore year, so 15. It was crazy. It was the crosstown rivalry game (against Butte Central) during warmups. I was just the first one on the team to get a chance. I was pretty pumped.
Q: To close, what’s it like playing for Bobby Hauck?
A: He’s a great guy. He knows exactly what to do to get us pumped up and to get us motivated. He brings the energy himself. It’s so much easier to follow along when you have a coach who can bring energy and is as enthusiastic as he is about the game. It just makes us love it even more.
Q: How do his practices compare to Northern?
A: They’re a little tougher here. I played quarterback there, so the quarterback to O-line makes it a little tougher. They keep us busy.