BOZEMAN -- The Montana State offensive line might be the most consistent position on the Bobcats' football team. Four out of the five positions up front will be filled with returning starters.
“Just building that chemistry and (we) kind of already have that built," said Lewis Kidd, a junior lineman. "We’ve all played with each other before, we all have confidence in each other, we all know that we all know the plays,"
The only missing piece comes at center as former captain Alex Neale graduated last year. Sophomore Zach Redd is a front-runner to step into that role, but having options is key for MSU head coach Jeff Choate.
“Alex (Neale) had that job for us for three years. I’ve never coached a team that didn’t have Alex as my center and so that’s something that we did miss. The good news is we played Zach Redd a good amount last year. We actually moved Alex to guard and Zach played some center for us in some games. Taylor (Tuiasosopo) has done a nice job of filling in and giving us some options at center,” said Choate.
Now it’s time to find where to put those pieces for the best overall chemistry.
“We have a lot of guys coming back, we have to find the mix of five that give us the best chance to play together. And when that happens, I think we’ll roll," Choate said.
Most of the offensive line is figured out for Choate: Mitch Brott is solidified in the left tackle position, Kidd's at right guard and Connor Wood is at right tackle. Choate said he is still evaluating where Taylor Tuiasosopo and Redd fit at left guard and center. But he also isn't counting out others, like Jake Sessions, who could earn playing time, as well.
While the main core of the O-line isn’t changing much, one aspect is: the quarterback. Former starting QB Troy Andersen is now at linebacker. He ran the ball 206 times for more than 1,400 yards last season.
With Andersen now on defense, Choate has indicated that his offense will become a more traditional passing attack with Tucker Rovig and Casey Bauman taking the first-team reps. But it doesn’t matter who is under center, the job remains the same for the offensive line.
“(The) pass isn’t a time off for us, we are still trying to dominate the guys across from us. Just trying to treat it like we are always downhill run, is our mentality," said Kidd. "But a the end of the day, if we get a pass call, we want to be just as aggressive and confident in that as our run game.”