BUTTE — With 10 of 11 offensive starters returning from last season, there will be plenty of familiar faces when the Montana Tech football team takes the field in a few weeks.
The Orediggers need to fill the void left by all-conference lineman Hunter Spartz, but otherwise maintain the core of last season's offense that helped Tech to a 5-5 record in Kyle Samson's first full season as head coach.
There's plenty of experience on the roster and Samson is hoping to translate that into depth at each position as Tech's season opener on the road against Eastern Oregon looms.
"You know we have so many starters back but creating depth, I think the biggest thing is who's going to be our 2's going into this game against Eastern Oregon, who's gonna make the bus," said Samson. "There's a couple of positions that I think will have some competition. We're just looking at those spots to see who's gonna provide some depth."
Quarterback Jet Campbell is back after a late-season injury to his right arm last year where he threw for 2,052 yards and 17 touchdowns against seven interceptions. He said he's back to 100% except for one small thing.
"Feels like nothing's changed with the exception I brush my teeth with my left hand, that's pretty much it," Campbell said. "Feeling good, feeling ready to roll."
Also back on Tech's offense is running back Blake Counts who led Tech with 755 rushing yard and four touchdowns. Wide receiver Trevor Hoffman is also returning — he paced the Oredigger wideouts with 631 yards and six touchdowns.
Tech was ranked fifth in the preseason poll and Samson said this team is eager to prove the doubters wrong.
"We want to go out and prove that we're not the fifth team in this conference," Samson said. "We got a little work to do, but we're excited to come out and prove people wrong."
After its road game against EOU, Tech will return home for a two-game homestand against Carroll College (Sept. 3) and Rocky Mountain College (Sept. 17).