BILLINGS— The football guys at Rocky Mountain College are underway with spring camp following one of their best regular seasons in years.
"We've taken steps in the right direction as a program, but we've got to now go into it knowing we can win," head coach Chris Stutzriem told MTN Sports on the field before Monday's first workout.
And Stutzriem says, that starts right now with strong spring ball competition.
Their last competition, a double-overtime loss to Montana Western in November, kept Rocky just outside the playoffs. That was despite the Bears' best start in 23 years and earning a share of the Frontier Conference title at 7-3.
"Throughout the whole season, everybody in the conference to writing in the papers, (thought) that we were supposed to end the season second-to-last," said defensive lineman Dylan Beridon. "But where we ended was good. But we're not satisfied at all."
"We bring a lot of guys back," said quarterback Nate Dick. "We lose Luke (Overton-WR) and Wes (Moeai-DL) and (Alex-DE) Bush; you can't really replace those guys. This is a time for a lot of younger guys to step up and see what they've got."
Stutzriem, who was named 2021 Frontier Conference Coach of the Year, has plenty to choose from. He's thrilled to welcome 88 guys to camp.
"Yeah, I am. I think it just shows what's going on in our program," he said. "Guys want to be here. We've got to build competition within our program from our twos to our one's, our threes to our two's so nobody gets complacent."
As much as they're focused on winning jobs, they're also sports fans paying attention to March Madness. Stutzriem said he's filled out three brackets.
"We do one (bracket) as a team and have a little fun with it," he said. "But one bracket I had three SEC teams and I'm like, I can't do that. So, I've got Duke winning it."
"Duke, baby. Love my Blue Devils," Dick gushed. "I've been a fan ever since I grew up and (Mike) Krzyzewski, like Stutz said, it's his last year and I think John Scheyer is going to do a heck of a job."
Beridon says he's leaning toward his roots.
"I'm going to go with my hometown favorite; I'm going to take UCLA. I'm going to say the final two is probably going to be Kentucky (and) UCLA."
There you go. Lock in the picks and take them to the bank.