BOZEMAN – The Bozeman Hawks have started their season 3-0, and when you think of the Hawks’ offensive success, it all begins with running back Joe Olson.
“Having (Olson) makes our offense really operate right now, and he’s a huge part of what we’re doing,” said Bozeman head coach Levi Wesche on his starting running back.
Through three games this season, Olson has rushed 71 times for 596 yards. His reason for success in the backfield is simple.
“The offensive line helps a lot, but I just feel like my work ethic in the game is, I just don’t like to give up during the play — like, I don’t want to be tackled,” smiled Olson.
Some call it perseverance and effort, but Wesche thinks it’s a different character trait that every running back needs to have.
“He’s one of the most stubborn individuals, just, like, he’s stubborn and wants to break tackles, he’s stubborn and doesn’t want to go down. He’s one of the most stubborn individuals I’ve ever coached,” said Wesche. “Not accepting going down is huge part of being a running back, making the first guy miss, making something out of a play that’s dead, and that’s something he’s great at. So yeah, I think it’s pretty important.”
Olsen, a future Montana State Bobcat, is on fire to start the season, scoring seven total touchdowns in three games. He also had a 266-yard performance against Billings West, which ranks third all-time in Bozeman’s single-game rushing record book. But he wants more.
“My personal goal is to get at least 200 yards every game,” said Olson. “I just want to have, by the end of the season, like almost 2,000 yards. So that’s my goal.”
Only one player in Hawks history came that close – quarterback Tanner Roderick rushed for 1,913 yards in 2010. If Olson achieves his goal he’d be the first-ever Hawk to reach that milestone. When No. 33 is lined up in the backfield, his team knows there’s a chance.
“I’d hate to be the one that bets against him, I think that. I know he’s averaging 198 (yards per game) right now. So if we can go 10 games, he’ll be close. Maybe get a playoff game. But like I said, I wouldn’t be the guy to bet against him,” said Wesche. “When he sets a goal for himself it’s serious, so he wasn’t about that. So I wouldn’t be the guy to bet against him.”
Olson will look to get another step closer to 2,000 yards as Bozeman hosts rival Butte at home Friday at 7 p.m.