BOZEMAN — With spring football wrapped up, Montana State released its depth chart earlier this week and Matt McKay, the junior transfer from North Carolina State, was named the starting quarterback.
“Probably the thing that has impressed me most is his approach," Bobcats head coach Brent Vigen said. "I think he understands that he’s made progress but that he still needs to make a significant amount. I think his ability to make plays with both his arm and feet are in front of him, but there’s work ahead of him, too."
While that makes Montana State’s 2019 starter, Tucker Rovig, a backup quarterback, he’ll still be holding a significant leadership role on the team.
“Tucker is the one with the most experience, and successful experience at that," Vigen said. "I appreciate his role within this team regardless if he’s starting or not. He’s a captain and for good reason, but he’s a guy that’s competing too. By no means was he just going to succumb this job to anyone, so he’s working hard to keep getting better.”
Vigen will be keeping the same captains that were selected before he was hired, which include Rovig and Lewis Kidd on offense and Chase Benson, Troy Andersen and Amandre Williams on defense.
“I can see why those guys were in that position," Vigen said. "They had done a lot to hold things together. I really feel good about those five guys and what they’ve done prior to me getting here, but then they’ve been a real asset from a leadership perspective.”
Moving on to running backs, Isaiah Ifanse was listed as Montana State's starter, followed by freshman Elijah Elliot, but the Bobcats' depth stretches much further.
“I think that’s a spot that we’d like to play four, five guys," Vigen explained. "Beyond the first two that were listed, Lane (Sumner) will have a role for sure. He’s played effective football in the past, and we expect him to in the future. I think both DeMareus (Hosey) and Jaharie (Martin) have flashed enough where you can say they’re trending the right way to be in a position where they deserve game reps, but I think they need to keep coming.”
On defense, there was some shuffling around in the back end.
“I think in the secondary there was maybe a little surprise that we put Tyrel (Thomas) n the nickel spot," Vigen said. "We see the nickel spot no different than a starting corner. I think the competition for those five spots in the back end, I think there’s still some work to be done.”
Montana State did have two players enter their names in the transfer portal after the depth chart was released, which includes junior wide receiver Tyrone Marshall and freshman cornerback Tylor Bohannon.
“This is usually the week as finals finish up that things do shake out a little bit, but at the same time, guys get to the end of spring ball, see where they’re at and maybe take some time to let it all sink in too," Vigen said. "We have a pretty invested group of guys right now. Honestly, if guys don’t want to be here that’s probably not the right ingredients either.”