(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
BOZEMAN – Evaluation of skill position players edges further into the limelight Friday, when Montana State stages its second football scrimmage of the spring. Practice begins at 10:30 am in Bobcat Stadium, with the scrimmage segment beginning shortly after 11:00 am.
MSU head coach Jeff Choate looks forward to watching an interesting tandem carry the ball on Friday. “It doesn’t look like there’s a lot of running backs out there (this spring),” Choate said, “but you have to remember we signed five running backs, so we’ll see what happens when those guys get here. (New transfer) Tyler Natee obviously has a very specific skill set, he’s a very talented young man, he brings an interesting option to the offense. Karl Tucker’s been a very pleasant surprise,” Choate said. “I think his body type and skill set may lend itself more to running back than receiver.”
Natee 6-1, 260) comes to Bozeman from Indiana, where he saw considerable action as a freshman in 2016 before redshirting after a coaching change last fall. He is a power back who surprises with his agility. Tucker played as a receiver and special teams standout for the Cats the last two seasons. They complement the ball-carrying prowess of quarterback Chris Murray, Choate said.
The Cats plan to scrimmage for most of two hours on Friday, with a mix of play-it and special segments, such as red zone and two-minute situations. Offensive coordinator Brian Armstrong said much of his focus will lie in evaluating the run game. “It will be good to see Karl Tucker and Tyler Natee when they’re actually getting tackled,” he said. “We don’t have much film other than last Saturday (of running backs getting tackled). We’ll see if guys can get yards-after-contact. It will be good to see if we can gel up front a little in the run game and pass protection.”
Defensive coordinator Ty Gregorak will have his eye trained on areas of the Bobcat depth chart that feature youth. “Just seeing some of our younger guys,” he said of his priorities for the day. “We have a real good feel for what our veterans can do. They’ve played a lot of ball the last couple of years. I want to see our freshmen keep coming and developing. For as veteran as we are in some areas on defense we’re still pretty young in areas, so I want to see the freshmen continue to get better every day.”
After Friday’s scrimmage the Bobcats get Easter weekend off before returning to practice next Tuesday. That will begin the team’s last full week of spring ball, which culminates with the Sonny Holland Classic on April 7.