By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
No one may notice, but Cannon Montgomery has an important role for Tulsa
The redshirt junior is the holder when the Hurricane kicks extra points and field goals. He is a member of the receiving unit.
He is also the son of head coach of Philip Montgomery, which has its advantages.
“It’s interesting,” the younger Montgomery said. “You definitely see a different side of the game. You see much more in depth. It makes you see both sides of the fence because you see it from a players’ perspective, but you also grow up seeing it from a coach’s view. I know some of the frustrations that they have. For me, it was all about how I can help alleviate stress and just try to be as helpful as I possibly could to everybody.”
With the elder Montgomery having served as an assistant at Houston and Baylor before coming to Tulsa, the family has moved around a lot.
“You grow up kind of used to it,” Cannon Montgomery said. “It’s a lot like having a family in the military. You’re more than likely going to pick up and move every couple of years. Growing up, my parents have been married 25 years in December and have lived in eight different houses. It’s just something that you don’t think about almost because you’re used to it. You have great friends everywhere you go, but it’s the four people in your family that are permanent and those are the ones who are always going to be there.”
Montgomery’s sister, Maci, is also a cheerleader at the school. They are close, he said, because of the moving around. Both attended Cascia Hall when they arrived in Tulsa.
To an outsider, the idea of taking the snap of the ball to place on the tee quickly in time for the placekicker to boot the ball through the uprights can look daunting. But Montgomery will tell you it’s like another skill.
“It takes a lot of reps, a lot of work,” he said. “Our long snapper (Adam Higuera) came to TU in the same class (2017) as me. He played our true freshman year and I redshirted and at the end. I was just looking for a way to get on the field. I didn’t enjoy standing on the sidelines. Nobody does. So I talked to him and said, ‘Teach me what to do. You’ll have me for three years and won’t have to teach anybody else. So we snapped 50 to 100 balls every day.”
Montgomery said that it took six to eight months for him and Higuera to perfect their skill.
“And we got real coaching in practice. I started figuring it out and it’s been a good thing for me. My first snap was against Central Arkansas my freshman year (2018 season opener). I had to stand out for it and put it down and await the PAT and everything looked good.”
Montgomery said when he came back to the sideline, he got props from Kyle Grooms, who was the director of football operations at the time.
TU began spring practice for a few days back in March, but the sessions were cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It does raise a lot of flags for us,” Montgomery said. “We desperately counted on those practices during the spring, keep developing guys and evaluate where you’re at, heading into the next year. We got three or four practices in, thankfully. Working out by yourself is challenging. It was tough having that self-discipline of going up and running and lifting when you don’t have your strength coaches on you and you don’t have your friends around. Working out by yourself is very challenging and is something that I’ve never done because I’ve always been working out in tense settings. It takes some getting used to.”
As of submission of this article, TU athletes were still not allowed to be working out together. But Montgomery and his teammates are confident the 2020 season will go on as scheduled.
Tulsa has only nine wins the past three seasons. Most losses were close and were a play or two away from a different result. Montgomery and his teammates believe that the tide can turn this year.
The Golden Hurricane are scheduled to open the season Sept. 5 at home against Toledo.