BOZEMAN — Game Week has finally arrived for Montana State after more than 600 days without football, and in an interesting twist of fate, Brent Vigen’s first game as the Bobcats new head coach just happens to be against his former team - the University of Wyoming.
“It’s obviously a unique situation where I know as much about them as I do," Vigen said. "Anything I can share with our guys that’s going to help our guys succeed on Saturday, I’m going to share with them.”
A player he’s been game planning for this week is Wyoming’s Xazavian Valladay. The junior running back finished second in the Mountain West this past fall averaging 110 yards per game.
“Valladay is a tremendous back, but there’s a couple of guys behind him - Trey Smith, Titus Swen," Vigen explained. "I mean, they can roll a few guys at you.”
Depth was the second keynote he made during Monday’s presser, saying there’s a lot of veteran presence on the Cowboys roster.
"Any of the positions across the board, with maybe the exception of punter, those kids have all played in games and a lot of them played a ton of football," Vigen added. "They have depth because of all that experience.”
Speaking of depth, Montana State released its two-deep depth chart at the beginning of the week. As expected, Matt Mckay was listed as the starting quarterback against Wyoming, but there was a surprise at center with redshirt freshman Justus Perkins jumping to the number one spot.
“Cole Sain had an injury setback through camp," Vigen explained. "He’s back now, but an opportunity presented itself for Justus [Perkins], and he jumped on it. His performance in the spring took a big leap forward as far as what he was able to bring to the table - had a really good summer - and that’s not to say that Cole didn’t. Cole has just missed some time. Cole’s back now, and we’ll see how it plays out not only this coming Saturday but as the season goes along.”
Perkins' promotion to number one on the depth chart will make him one of three former Bozeman Hawks starting on Saturday joining wide receiver Lance McCutcheon and linebacker Callahan O’Reilly.
As far as injuries, cornerback Tryel Thomas and wide receiver Nate Stewart will not make the trip this weekend and are listed week-to-week.
“It can be a really energized environment, so our guys shouldn't have any misgivings that this isn’t going to be electric," Vigen said. "This isn’t going to be an adverse situation where you're got a big crowd that's going to be pulling for their team and certainly rooting against you. I think it will be a tremendous atmosphere.”
Montana State’s season opener against Wyoming will kick off this Saturday at 2 p.m. MT on the Mountain West Network.