BOZEMAN — During Montana State’s head coach search, keeping continuity within its current staff was a major priority.
While most of the staff was retained when head coach Brent Vigen took over the program in February, there was some shuffling among the coaches, with the biggest one being Justin Udy’s transition from offensive coordinator to wide receivers coach.
“We all have goals and dreams and ambitions, so anytime there’s a little bit of a fork in the road it can be a little disheartening and you feel sorry for yourself for about 24 hours," Udy said. "Then it’s time to get over it because you have people who are counting on you."
Udy was hired as Montana State’s offensive coordinator in February of 2020 under then-head coach Jeff Choate but had yet to call a single play since the fall season was canceled. One year later, Vigen stepped in as the Bobcats' new head coach, bringing along Taylor Housewright to be his new coordinator.
“He was a total pro," Udy explained. "He brought me in, and we had a conversation about the direction that he wanted to take things on offense. It started with me just listening to him and from there being able to paint a picture for him as to how I can help his team be successful, how I can help us offensively still be successful.”
While taking a step down has the potential to cause some angst, that hasn’t been the case with Udy and his new offensive coordinator.
“I told Coach Vigen when we were going through the transition, I don’t think of it as me getting fired," Udy added. "I really thought of it as an opportunity for me to get rehired. We put a ton of work in last year and didn’t get an opportunity to show any of that, and even though my role has changed my motivation hasn't. I just really wanted to be here, and so for Coach Vigen and Coach Housewright to give me that opportunity, that’s very special, but again this is more about the players than it is me.”
Udy has spent the past two weeks of spring ball implementing the Bobcats’ new offensive system, which has surprised him in more than one way.
“We had a little bit different style of offense going, so I think I kind of had a perception of a few guys of this is how I saw them fitting in when I was doing it," Udy said. "And then with Coach Housewright and his system, I think it’s created some opportunities from some guys that I just didn’t see some of those skill sets.”
Looking ahead to this upcoming season, Udy said his wide receivers feel like they have something to prove.
“I think it kind of is a fresh start for them and clearly a fresh start for me," he said. "I’ve just really appreciated the way that they’ve handled the transition, and I’m just really excited for the season to get here so we can work together in games.”