Aug 1, 2012 9:28 AM by Laura Wilson - MTN Sports

Rape charge against QB raise more questions for Griz

MISSOULA- University of Montana Quarterback Jordan Johnson is now preparing for trial after being charged with felony rape on Tuesday. Prosecutors say the incident with the alleged victim happened on February 4th while the two were watching a movie at her home.

The victim told investigators Johnson forced himself on top of her, held her down and then raped her, but Johnson has told investigators the sex was consensual.

Johnson has now been suspended from the football team, raising even more questions about the QB situation for the Griz. Gerald Kemp was dismissed earlier this month because of a violation of team rules and Nate Montana transferred.

That all means that right now the Griz don't have any quarterbacks who have completed a pass in a game on their fall roster. But, Coach Mick Delaney says a big part of his job is preparing for the unexpected.

Team camp opens in five days, and Delaney says he plans to move forward with the three active quarterbacks that are on the roster adding that the starting position is now up for grabs, especially between Trent McKinney and Shay Smithwick-Hann.

"It's a big competition between the two of them and right now, I couldn't tell you what's going to happen with that competition. Tre's strong points are obviously he's a tremendous athlete. He throws the ball well and he runs the ball well. Shay has been with us--this will be his third fall, and he's a tremendous young man. He understands the offense frontward and backward," Delaney said Tuesday.

While Johnson is indefinitely suspended from the Griz, interim Director of Athletics Jean Gee said it is possible he could request to be released from the team. The quarterback could be eligible to transfer to another program if UM were to agree to any request.

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.

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