BOZEMAN – The annual Sonny Holland Classic will be played Saturday at noon at Bobcat Stadium. It’s a chance for fans to see the Montana State football players in action, but it’s even more fun to watch head coach, Jeff Choate in action.

While Choate is in charge of the entire football operation, the former Montana Western linebacker, and defensive line coach at both Florida and Washington, is happiest when he is on the field, mixing it up with his players.

“I don’t get that opportunity as much as I used to,” explained Choate. “That’s what I’ve done for the better part of the last 25 years, is coach kids. As a head coach, sometimes you’ve got to take advantage of times that you have to be able to do some hands-on coaching. And I really enjoy it and I do think that I have some things to offer. Especially with the defensive line and with the special teams. So it’s fun to see those guys progress. I can see growth in the young ones.”

During each drill, Choate, is constantly coaching.

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“There’s a difference between what we call practice and deliberate practice,” he said. “And sometimes, if you just go out and do the drill, you may not gain the same level of improvement if you understand the details of what you’re trying to accomplish. That’s what I was trying to get across to those young men at that point.”

One of the defensive linemen that has gotten the most out of Choate’s “hands-on” approach, is junior Zach Wright.

“It’s always good,” said Wright. “I mean, he’s that defensive line coach from Washington so, any kind of input from him is always positive. He’s always got a lot of good information to share with us.”

“I think that I have some coaching points that maybe I can convey in a different way,” added Choate. “I’ve been doing this a long time and kind of the ten thousand hour rule kicks in. You become an expert on some things. And so, I think when I talk, maybe sometimes, especially with the defensive line, they understand that I’m talking from a position of having coached that spot for a long time and maybe give them one or two things that can help their game.”

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