BOZEMAN — Montana State has a new offensive coordinator. And the last straw appeared to be another ineffective outing at Weber State.
Former Helena Capital High School and Boise State star Matt Miller was named Montana State’s offensive coordinator and primary play-caller for a struggling and conservative offense on Monday.
“These kinds of decisions are always difficult, but I felt that there was just lack of progress on the offensive side of the ball, regardless of our circumstances,” said MSU coach Jeff Choate. “I feel like what’s best for our program and what’s best for our players right now is for there to be a new voice in that room, and that’s what it came down to.”
Miller also takes over duties as quarterbacks coach with the departure of Bob Cole, who had held that role since last spring, and was the team’s pass coordinator.
“A good guy, not a personal thing about Bob,” Choate said. “I just think we reached that point where saying the same things and getting the same results wasn’t going to bring confidence for our offense.”
Choate indicated former Rocky Mountain College head coach Brian Armstrong, who was removed as offensive coordinator, will stay on board with the tight ends.
“Matt is a young guy who brings a lot of energy, played at a high level, very competitive, very organized, very detailed, understands what we need to do to have success, and I think the players will respond to him,” Choate said about Miller. “I feel like at this point, for our guys to have a sense of hope and excitement on that side of the ball, it was time for a change.”
The move should bring energy to both sides of the ball, with MSU’s defense hoping for more scoring and clock-eating help. After Saturday’s 34-24 loss at Weber State, the Bobcat offense ranks 12th out of 13 Big Sky Conference teams. In Saturday’s game, MSU held a 24-17 third-quarter lead, but the offensive play-calling was extremely predictable and didn’t contribute to another point. It’s an offense where Bobcats quarterback Troy Andersen is typically the team’s leading rusher, and he was again on Saturday with 102 yards, but 71 of those were on one long touchdown run. Outside of that, MSU accounted for only 97 yards running and 53 yards passing with no touchdowns through the air.
After Saturday’s loss, this was Choate’s answer when asked what’s next: “Circle the wagons, that’s what I told them. That’s what you sign up for, man. You put that helmet on, and we’ll go compete next week.”
A lot of coaches would’ve held off and suffered through the rest of the season. The playoffs are likely out of the question for MSU, so the focus now is for more offensive imagination and creativity.