BOZEMAN, Mont. – Plenty of time remains in the 2016 football season for obsessing over nuts-and-bolts details. In terms of the broad strokes, Jeff Choate liked what he saw during his first fall practice as Montana State’s head football coach.
“I liked the exchange between the offense and the defense today,” he said after his team’s two-and-a-half hour camp-opening session. “I thought it was competitive, and right. (The practice wasn’t dominated by) blown coverages or the defense getting turnover after turnover against the offense. There’s going to be of those days, but I thought the competitive balance was where it needed to be today. I’m excited to see where that goes once we put the pads on.”
Montana State’s first-year coaching staff welcomed 34 new players, but Choate thought his team fought well against the opening day circumstances. “I think it was kind of what you expect,” he said. “There was newness to the environment. We have some new players, we have some new student managers, so we’re working through the (logistics). We got through those things real quick, the kids adjusted well, the energy was where it needed to be, lots of enthusiasm, and that’s what we were looking for.”
Choate praised his team for the work accomplished in the summer” The progress that has been made from practice one in the spring to practice one in fall camp is dramatic and impressive,” he said. “I tip my hat to them for that.”
Montana State breaks in a new quarterback in 2016, and regardless of who it is the next step that player takes in a Bobcat game will be the first. Transfer Tyler Bruggman held an edge over redshirts Ben Folsom and Brady McChesney after spring drills. “I thought all those guys had good moments,” Choate said of quarterback play on day one. “Tyler, Ben and Brady, all three of those guys did a great job. Some of the details of the route-running, the timing, we have to clean up, but in terms of understanding the offense, the operation, I was pleased. I thought all three of those guys did some nice things.”
Bruggman said the offense picked up where it left off in spring drills after a productive summer of player-run workouts. “I think we’re coming along just great,” he said. “We’re making progress and improving each day.”
The junior from Scottsdale College was pleased with the work of his offensive line, which replaces four starters from 2015. “They’ve come together great,” he said. “Today I don’t think they gave up a sack in team, and that’s tough t do when the defense doesn’t have pads on.”
Montana State practices at 10:30 am Sunday through Tuesday before donning full pads on Wednesday.
Courtesy: Montana State Sports Information