BOZEMAN — It's only days away from the Montana State football team kicking off practice for its 2021 season on Aug. 6.
At the Big Sky Kickoff last Monday, senior offensive lineman Lewis Kidd and senior defensive lineman Amandre Williams spoke to the media and it’s safe to say, they’re excited now that they have something to play for.
“As well as you practice and as much as you talk about being focused, it’s a little bit harder when you don’t have an end goal in sight when you don’t have a season to play for," Williams said. "Now that we do, it means a lot for our guys. We’re excited to play football again. We’re excited to play meaningful football.”
The Bobcats will have a true test of where they are at right when the season begins, when they take on head coach Brent Vigen's former team, the University of Wyoming.
“I think it’s just overall kind of containing that excitement a little bit, but also using it to kind of drive you," said Kidd. "We got a lot to prove this season and I think it will be a lot of fun to open up with Wyoming and compete with an FBS (school) and just kind of show what we got and what we’ve been working on the past couple of years.”
For Kidd and the offensive lineman, they lost a big piece when Connor Wood transferred to Mizzou. However, it’s all about the next-man-up mentality.
“I think as an O-Line we do a pretty good job of putting our heads down and going to work," said Kidd. "If you ask one of the centers to go play out and guard (and) he’s never played guard, he’ll do it. If you ask a guard to go take snaps at tackle or bounce into guard -- they’re willing to do it.”
Both the sides of the ball have new coordinators. Taylor Housewright has taken over the offense calling plays and Freddie Banks the same on the defensive side of the ball. However, according to Kidd and Williams, not much has changed despite the changes to the coaching staff.
“We’re just kind of doing the same thing really," said Kidd. "Adding some wrinkles, adding some tweaks, some modifications. Changing the names of some things. Other than that, we’re still running the ball, passing the ball, doing what we’ve done in the past.”
For Williams, it's less about the change, but more getting used to the new coaching staff.
“Schematically not much has changed," he said. "Terminology is a big thing when switching coaches and staffs -- it’s just kind of understanding each other’s language.”
Getting to the FCS semifinal game in 2019, this team knows what it takes to get there, but think this staff can give them the tools to go farther.
“We know what we need to do to get there," said the senior Williams. "Now, how do we get past that point? That’s what the new staff brought in, is that new perspective in taking us to the next level. It definitely helps to have guys that have been there. That experience has been a great benefit for us.”
A little over a month away, the Gold Rush game against Drake on Sept. 11 is what everyone is eager for.
“We’re excited," Williams said. "That Gold Rush game is a different environment. It’s hard to explain until you actually see it. It’s a lot of fun and we’re excited about it.”