UM football player Braydon Deming pushed a white pickup truck through a quiet neighborhood in his hometown of Billings on March 24, while his dad sat at the wheel.
“Drive it. Drive it. Finish it. Finish it,” Braydon’s friend Nathan Dick yelled as Braydon pushed the truck. Dick is currently a quarterback at Rocky Mountain Univer- sity in Billings. He also took part in the truck-pushing workout.
The twins moved back home to Billings after UM canceled in-person classes and then football practice because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once returning home, Braydon Deming and his twin Bryson Deming bounced around to different gyms in Billings before they eventually closed too.
Once the gyms were closed, the brothers began to find their own creative ways to work out.
“We kind of ran out of accessories to use in weight rooms and stuff,” Braydon said about pushing the truck. “That idea was one that could be a good leg workout.”
Bryson and Braydon both attended Billings West High School before they committed to UM. Bryson was first-team All-Conference quarterback for Billings West in 2016, but he now plays tight end for the Griz. He played in a total of 25 games for UM and caught three touchdowns while racking up 335 total receiving yards.
Braydon was a first-team All-State tight end and linebacker for Billings West, but he now plays defensive end at UM. In his first year of college, he was named the Co-De- fensive Scout Team Player of the Year. He appeared in 23 games for the Griz, totaling 35 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
UM head football coach Bobby Hauck said he was disappointed the team wasn’t able to do spring practices.
“Unless they have their own weight room, there's nowhere to workout,” he said. “Doing pushups doesn’t replace training.”
Hauck said the last time he remembers football practices being canceled was when forest fires pumped smoke into Missoula in 2015. Despite the smoke, UM was able to start the 2015 season on time and upset North Dakota State 38-35.
Even though Hauck was upset that the players have to resort to pushups as a replacement for practices and workouts, he concluded, “We have great work ethic, and our guys will do anything they can to make Montana football great.”
UM kicker Gabe Peppenger also got creative with his offseason workouts. In a Twitter video, Peppenger was doing squats and lunges with a deer hunting dummy held over his shoulders.
“Times are tough man,” he said after completing the workout.
Peppenger attended Sentinel High School in Missoula before he committed to Mon- tana State in 2016. He played two seasons at MSU before he transferred to UM in 2018. After former starting kicker Bradon Purdy left UM after 2019, Peppenger became the lone upperclassman kicker coming into 2020.
UM sophomore linebacker Braxton Hill could also be seen working out by doing pushups on the front lawn of his house in the University District of Missoula.
Hill joined UM’s football team after grad- uating from Anaconda High School where he broke the school’s record for scoring in basketball. Prior to breaking basketball records, he racked up 31 tackles during his senior football season before being injured. He appeared in 10 games for the Griz, where he totaled five tackles.
On March 12, the Big Sky Conference canceled its basketball tournament and suspended all spring athletics. The UM football spring game, which was set to take place in Hamilton on April 10, was canceled on March 16.
Prior to the spring game’s cancellation, UM announced it would be closing football practices to the media over fears of COVID-19. On March 23, the Big Sky Conference canceled all athletic activities and practices.
“As of today as we sit, it will not be before May 15,” UM athletic director Kent Haslam replied when asked when practices might resume.