Bobcats open spring football drills Tuesday

BOZEMAN — Rob Ash knows one thing about heading into a spring practice session void of quarterback intrigue, which his squad faced plenty of a year ago.

“I won’t have to answer the question every day,” Montana State’s ninth-year head football coach said with a laugh Monday on the eve of his squad’s first day of spring practice for 2015. The Bobcats will practice each of the next five Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:45 pm, beginning March 17. The team also works each Saturday during spring drills, which conclude April 18 in Bozeman with the Sonny Holland Classic, except for Easter weekend. Saturday practice times will vary.

Even with Dakota Prukop entering the spring as the starter and Jake Bleskin serving as perhaps the most accomplished no. two quarterback in the FCS, Ash said coordinator Tim Cramsey and the offensive staff have problems to hammer out, the most crucial of which deals with mathematics. “The biggest issue for us at quarterback this spring is that we only have two,” Ash said. “We have to be exceedingly careful with what we do with Dakota and Jake from a physical standpoint.”

While Montana State’s offense piled up points and yards at a pace that set school records last fall, the defense wasn’t always able to get stops when needed. Ash understands that side of the ball will draw considerable attention this spring, but cautions there is a numbers game at play on defense, as well.

“We have five transfers coming in that won’t be here in the spring,” Ash said, “so our defense will take on a different look in the fall than what we’re able to do this spring. So with that in mind, this isn’t going to be the final view of our defense, but we can still get a lot accomplished.”

Ash said the process of establishing Kane Ioane as defensive co-coordinator tops the list. “We want to get Kane’s personality imprinted on the defense in terms of the style of play, the enthusiasm, the simplicity of the schemes, so we can play fast and with a lot of aggression. We are very young, so it will be a huge work in progress.”

That work begins Tuesday, when MSU takes the field for the first time in 2015 at Bobcat Stadium at 3:45 pm.

“I’m excited,” Ash said. “It’s always fun to see the results of the off-season work, and see what personality a new group of guys takes on. Every group is different, and getting to know each group is a fun part of spring ball.”

— MSU Sports Information