HELENA -- It seemed like every coach had a little bit of something going on during Thursday's Frontier Conference football media day. Though this year will certainly be different, one thing is for sure: The coaches want to be back on the field this fall.
With the College of Idaho, Southern Oregon and Eastern Oregon moving all of their athletics schedules until at least Nov. 1, the conference of eight whittled down to five Montana teams that hope to duke it out for a Frontier Conference title.
In Helena at Carroll College, Troy Purcell enters his second year as a head coach, but knows that losing a valuable tool in spring ball will make things a bit more challenging in terms of evaluating his redshirt freshmen, but that’s one of his priorities when practices are scheduled to start on Aug. 15.
"The spring is a great time to evaluate those redshirt freshmen," said Purcell. "A lot of those guys are going to be looked at and evaluated a little bit closer as we get into fall camp to see where their development is. Other than that, I just want to see where they're going to gel."
For Montana Tech, it’s the first year of Kyle Samson at the helm. For Samson, it’s been a strange six months from the time he was named the head coach to now, something he discussed briefly during the Zoom call.
"One of the biggest challenges on my behalf is just becoming the head coach, and I was here last year as a coordinator, but trying to build the relationships with the kids when you're not around them," said Samson. "I mean, you can definitely build relationships through Zoom and everything, but I think all of us would agree that being with them, sitting down one-on-one and being able to have meetings in person is a lot different than being on Zoom. But I think we all got to be able to adapt.”
For Andrew Rolin at Montana State-Northern, it will mark the year the Hi-Line has been waiting for. If all goes to plan, 2020 is the first year the Lights will get a chance to play on their own campus, something Rolin hopes will rejuvenate the program and its fan base.
"Blue Pony (Stadium) is a special place, Troy (Purcell, who previously coached at Havre High) can attest to that," said Rolin, as both coaches smiled. "It's a special, special place for Havre High School, and I think our stadium is going to be a special, special place for Northern football. I'd like to say that we're going to have a more of a home-field advantage being here on campus, and our kids will have a sense of pride of not sharing the field, but making it our own."
The updated 2020 Frontier Conference football schedule has not been announced, but, per the NAIA guidelines, games can start on Sept. 12.