(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
BOZEMAN, Montana – For two seasons, Karl Tucker II bided his time at Montana State as a reserve receiver. This spring, the Great Falls CM Russell product is changing addresses on the Bobcat depth chart.
“When you have good players you have to figure out where they fit in the two-deep and where they can impact a game a little bit more,” Montana State coach Jeff Choate said of players such as Tucker seeking an elevated role. “You’re always looking to build depth in positions where you may be lacking and provide opportunities to players who might be buried in the depth chart at one position but show ability.”
So when Choate pitched him the move to running back – “I’ve never really been at running back, even in high school,” Tucker said – Tucker jumped at the opportunity. “It’s way different from playing receiver, it’s a whole other world, a whole other mindset,” he said after his first five practices at his new spot. “I’m just hoping to learn a lot, I’m excited to learn a bunch. Coach (DeNarius) McGhee has done a really good job with all of us, and I’m really excited for it.”
Tucker isn’t alone in transitioning positions, but McGhee, in his first campaign with running backs after coaching MSU’s signal callers a season ago, likes the transition of his newest ball carrier. “It’s been smooth,” McGhee said. “He’s very smart, he has a good feel for the position, really good feet. I think you can be blessed with good vision, you can develop that somewhat, but Karl has a natural knack for it.”
Some time as a wildcat quarterback in high school and a couple of weeks as an emergency option early in his freshman season of 2016 stand as his only experience in the backfield, but Tucker didn’t hesitate in accepting the new role. “It wasn’t really surprising because we are short at the running back position,” he said. “I jumped at the opportunity to do it because it’s another opportunity to find my role in the offense. So I jumped right into it.”
Saturday’s scrimmage at around 11:30 am in Bobcat Stadium should give Tucker, who Choate calls “a slasher” as a ball carrier, his first extended looks at his new position. MSU’s third-year head coach is excited. “Seeing how Karl does against live (tackling), that’s something I’m anxious to see.”