DILLON — After a fall camp practice Thursday morning, some of Jon Jund's teammates teased him over his "Bieber haircut."
"I've embraced it," said the Montana Western redshirt junior quarterback with a grin.
The playful barbs over his blonde mop-top aren't going to do much to dampen Jund's excitement at finally getting to play a game again.
Following the cancellation of the 2020 season and Western opting out of the Frontier Conference's 2021 spring season, the Bulldogs are set to play their first game since 2019. Western will host Carroll College on Aug. 28 in the opener for both teams. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Vigilante Field.
"It's pretty awesome," said Jund, who led the conference in 2019 with 31 touchdown passes and 2746 passing yards. "We were all pretty disappointed we didn't play last year. We've been practicing for a year and we're ready to go."
Western head coach Ryan Nourse, heading into his eighth season with the Bulldogs, said that this fall camp has a different dynamic than Western's spring camp, when what was going to happen come autumn was still up in the air.
"It's a different feeling when your anticipation is getting to play games and working to a full season," said Nourse, who has compiled a 30-33 overall record during his tenure at Western. "Not when the only consistency that you have is inconsistency."
The Bulldogs put together a 7-3 campaign in 2019 and went 5-0 at home. Jund was key to that winning record, not only putting up conference-leading passing numbers but establishing himself as a formidable dual-threat quarterback. He led Western's rushing attack with 8 touchdowns and 365 yards.
"Very high," said Nourse on his level of expectations for Jund this season. "His expectations for himself are very high as well. Progressing towards that decision making where the offense is really just an extension of the quarterback.
Overall, seven starters from 2019 are returning this season, including Jund's favorite receiving target, Nate Simkins. The Dillon product and redshirt senior set a school record in 2019 with 13 receiving touchdowns to go along with 55 receptions and 830 yards.
On defense, Western will look to fill the void left by two-time all-American Jason Ferris, who led the Frontier in tackles in 2018 and 2019 and went on to be picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Carolina Panthers following the 2020 draft.
Nine defensive starters will return this year, including linebacker Joe Caicedo provided 89 tackles in 2019, trailing only Ferris on the Bulldogs' roster. Western's also also returns Dylan Pope (55 tackles), Kameron Rauser (50 tackles), Kyle Schulte (46 tackles) and Carson Hritsco (42 tackles).
It still remains to be seen how Western's 2021 campaign stacks up with what it accomplished in 2019. But whatever this fall brings, the Bulldogs are just glad to have the opportunity to play.
"We can't wait to get out there on the 28th," Jund said.