DILLON — Like many coaches and student-athletes in the Frontier Conference, Montana Western football coach Ryan Nourse was glad that the Montana-based schools in the league still have the opportunity to play this fall. With the possibility to play rivals like Montana Tech and Carroll College not once, but twice, this upcoming season, it adds a new wrinkle to the Bulldogs' preparation.
“There’s nothing harder to do than beat a football team twice in a year. It’s just so much different than any other sport," said Nourse.
The Frontier Conference's out-of-state schools -- College of Idaho, Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon -- announced they would be moving their football schedules to the spring. The remaining Frontier schools -- Western, Tech, Carroll, Rocky Mountain College and MSU-Northern -- are, as of now, planning to move forward with their regularly scheduled fall season.
As Nourse's players continually train and prepare for the first day of sanctioned team practices on Aug. 15, the possibility of playing a spring season has come across all of their minds. But Nourse quickly pointed out that pushing their season to the spring is a tough task to accomplish for any school trying to play football in Montana.
“We have moved our spring practices to the entire month of April the last several years because the majority of the time our fields are frozen in March,” Nourse said.
The physicality of the sport also brings about a different set of challenges when trying to transition back to the fall from a spring season.
“When you have the contact that you have in this sport and what that does to people’s bodies, there is a necessary recovery time," Nourse said. "And I think it would be silly to say that you’re going to have high-level, physical competitors take four weeks off and then they’re ready to come back and play another full season."