BOZEMAN — After a wild weekend that resulted in a near-upset of fourth-ranked South Dakota State, Montana State is enjoying a bye week.
“Even though its not ideal to have a bye Week 3,” head coach Jeff Choate said, “I think, for our team this year, it’s not such a bad thing.”
The loss to SDSU marked the Bobcats’ second consecutive loss against a high-quality, non-conference opponent (MSU lost at Washington State in Week 1) to begin the season. With another tough team in North Dakota looming on the other end of this extended break, Choate is looking to make some changes.
“We have some personnel issues I think we’ve got to address through the bye week,” he said. “I won’t get into those now, but I think there (are) some things we’ve really got to examine.”
Choate won’t elaborate on all that is going on in the coaches’ room, but he did talk about a couple of subjects, most notably the job status of kicker Luke Daly.
“The bottom line is performance: If you perform, you’re fine; if you don’t, then you’re going to have to fight for your job,” Choate said when asked if there will be an open competition at kicker. “I have a lot of confidence in Gabe (Peppenger), as well. … We’ll just see how that kind of plays out over the next week and a half here.”
Montana State is already a young squad, but the incorporation of even more youth is likely coming sooner than later.
“There (are) going to be guys that get nicked up from week to week and hopefully it’s nothing longterm,” Choate said. “You’re going to need to pull guys up here and there, and I think we got to start going it now. I think you’ll probably see more freshmen play (against North Dakota) and as we go through the season.”
The Bobcats travel to Grand Forks on Sept. 23 to take on North Dakota.