BOZEMAN — After the departure of Chris Murray earlier this summer, a quarterback battle has been under way in Bozeman. It’s only four days into camp, but head coach Jeff Choate is optimistic with the way things are going.
“I’m looking for who’s the guy that’s going to fight back and say, ‘No, this is my job’, and you have to have some dog in you,” Choate said of what he wants from the quarterbacks. “You’re not going to lay down and take it, you’re going to keep fighting.”
With four versatile players in the quarterback competition, Choate and quarterbacks coach Bob Cole are going to have a difficult decision.
“I don’t know if we got anymore clarity today,” Choate said after Sunday’s practice. “Every night I lay down in bed and think we got this thing figured out and then every day after practice my mind is a little different.”
The age and experience is staggered in the position, there are guns as young as Casey Bauman, a true freshman from Washington, and redshirt freshman Tucker Rovig from Idaho.
“Casey made some tremendous throws, he’s got a very good arm, and he’s got some moxie to him. Kind of has that QB feel,” Choate said.
Rovig talked highly of Bauman, as well: “Casey probably has the best arm out of all the QBs. He can get it to some spots where I’m pretty amazed at the throws.”
Each quarterback has stepped up for each practice, and on Sunday, Rovig was the guy with the best performance.
“Tucker had a bounceback day, he was probably the best guy today in some respects,” Choate said.
“In the summer I tried to improve on my leadership and my confidence ,and I feel like it has helped me a lot with believing in myself more, trusting myself more,” Rovig said. “With that confidence, my leadership has stepped up because I have talked to people and stepped up.”
There’s also another new guy, just with a little more playing time under his belt: Travis Jonsen, a transfer from Oregon.
“Travis is working through that foot [injury] and this is his first practice all the way through. He’s done some things leadership-wise that I noticed today,” Choate said.
“Performance has been good, not great, not where I want it to be, but I think if I keep digging in the playbook and watching my film, it will all be good,” Jonsen said.
And finally, running back-turned-quarterback Troy Andersen is thrown into the mix. Andersen, a sophomore from Dillon, is an athlete who, according to his teammates, is useful in any position.
“I think I’m kind of making steps every day,” Andersen said. “Trying to take it one day at a time and get better. Coach Cole and all the other quarterbacks help me a lot and get back in the flow of things and learn the offense and know what I’m supposed to do.”
Even with a battle ensuing, Rovig says the unit has the same goal in mind.
“It’s a QB room of a bunch of different quarterbacks, but at the same time we’re all really similar,” he said.