MISSOULA — Spectators at Montana football's fourth spring practice couldn't miss the defensive line. 

The defensive front paraded around the field that Monday reciting a modified  version of the famous "We are the Titans" chant from "Remember the Titans."

"That was spontaneous," senior defensive tackle David Shaw said. "We were walking out of the meeting room and (defensive line coach Barry Sacks was) like, 'Say this chant.' We went over it for a minute and we came out and it did it."

The chant generated some smiles and some laughs from onlookers that afternoon.

And the defensive linemen enjoyed it so much that they've made it a part of their typical practice routine. 

"It's stuck since then," junior defensive tackle Jesse Sims said with a smile. "Everybody brings a different one out each day and leads it. We chant wherever we go around the field."

Shaw and Sims' choices for their respective chant of the day were militaristic in origin. 

The energy that the defensive line brings to and between each drill didn't come out of thin air. That extra juice comes from lively defensive line coach Barry Sacks. 

Sacks is a Montana alumnus and played for the Grizzlies from 1976-79. He's coached all around the western United States at programs like Nevada, Boise State, New Mexico and Cal. 

But Montana, although he's from Washington, is home. 

While standing on the turf in Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Wednesday after practice, Sacks made a point to look up at both Mount Sentinel and Aber Hall.

"I look up at Mount Sentinel and I go, 'I'm home,'" Sacks said. "And then I look over there and I see Aber Hall — I lived on the fourth floor. I used to stand out here when the coaches were just beating us up and I'd look up and think, 'It's really cool to be here.'

"I feel that same pang right now. It's the most incredible feeling. ... Every single day I get up and feel like I have to pinch myself."

Sacks' energetic passion for Montana football pours out to where it's visible for his players. 

"He makes you want to play for him with his energy and enthusiasm," Shaw said. "He's high energy."

Sacks is high energy in the sense that he runs up and down the field with his players and sometimes breaks out dance moves when they do well. 

Sacks believes all of his players have that same energy within themselves. 

"Every young man needs to have a little kick start,"Sacks said. "They all have it in them. I'm just the kick starter."

And increasing that energy, according to Sacks, is one of the first steps into changing the culture within the Montana football program.

"There's a definite culture change here," Sacks said. "It's a matter of that we're not going to be satisfied with mediocrity ... They are hungry for this culture change. They're hungry for doing much greater things."

The energy isn't just chant-based. It goes down to the basics, like finishing plays until the very end, chasing down the football and attacking the offensive line.

"The more energy we can bring out on the field, the more everybody's going to get out of practice," Sims said. "Whether that be the D-Line or the O-Line when we're going against them. The more energy we have, the better we can do, the more it's going to help everybody."

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Amie Just covers Griz football and Missoula-area preps. Follow her on Twitter @Amie_Just or email her at Amie.Just@406mtsports.com.

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