Bobcats go live on Saturday

BOZEMAN — Rob Ash certainly knows that expectations during an spring football session present a moving target, but if Montana State’s eighth-year head football coach needed a reminder it has arrived in living color.

After a spate of injuries and personnel issues, Montana State’s practice Saturday will be just that — a practice, rather than a half-scrimmage, with 24 live plays at the end. Those two dozen plays will be divvied up between the ones and the twos.

Ash’s hopes for the live segment of Saturday’s practice are simple and pragmatic. “I’m looking for good, clean administration of how we play,” he said. “I want the offense to get lined up correctly, the right motion, a good center snap, and the play to get underway without issues. I want the defense to get lined up properly and get into the right call. After that, the (assistant coaches) really take over.”

The Bobcats have suffered a rash of injuries this spring, many of them clustered in the defensive line and offensive skill positions. Coupled with a smattering of other personnel issues, MSU enters the last two weeks of spring drills with a thin depth chart. “We’re limited,” Ash said, “but we’re having productive practices. (Wednesday) was the most spirited practice of the spring, and I think with the novelty (of spring ball) wearing off the guys are keeping themselves jacked up and energized.”

With junior quarterback Tanner Roderick (personal reasons) and freshman Quinn McQueary (injury) both on the shelf this weekend, junior Jake Bleskin and sophomore Dakota Prukop man the quarterback position Saturday. Ash is pleased with what he’s seen from that group of players to this point. “Those guys are playing doing fine. They’ve all had good moments.”

The Bobcat coaches have singled out the running back position on offense and the linebackers as two position groups enjoying productive springs. Ash hopes those groups can spur an efficient practice on Saturday. “I want to see us perform at a good tempo with crisp execution,” he said.

Bobcat players will be on the field at 10:30 am Saturday.

— MSU Sports Information