BOZEMAN – Spring football plagued the Bobcats with injuries last year and it hasn’t gotten any better. Last week, returning leading receiver Jabari Johnson went down with a season-ending knee injury.
“Right now, it’s just me and Kevin Kassis as the guys who have playing time, ” said sophomore wide out Lance McCutcheon. “Not only (do I) have to step up, but I’d say receivers as a unit and whoever is out there has to take a huge roll in making plays for this offense.”
Without Johnson, Kevin Kassis is the only Cats receiver with more than three catches last year.
“You gotta put the big boy pants on,” Kassis joked. “I guess that just means there is going to be more guys with more than three catches this year. So it’s going to be a good thing. I think these guys are going to embrace that role.”
And two of those guys who may be stepping up are freshmen Willie Patterson and Coy Steel.
“Willie has been amazing this spring and I know he’s going to continue that this season,” McCutcheon said. “And Coy, he’s probably not getting the reps he wants right now, but the reps that he is getting he’s making the most of right now. And I see him making a couple big plays this year.”
But the loss now puts a lot of weight on Kassis, who becomes quarterback Chris Murray’s number one option.
“I want to be a guy where when things get tough, when they really need me to make a play, they can look to me and hopefully I can do that for them and for this team,” said Kassis.
Head coach Jeff Choate preaches a next man up mentality and although this injury is big on the offense, the Bobcats are ready to sew up the wound.
“Everyone who is going to be playing needs to be able to make the plays,” said McCutcheon. “Kevin and myself have to and same with Willie and Coy and whoever the receivers are that are going to be making plays for us.”