Regrouping Montana Tech sets sights on Saints

By Bill Foley

Montana Tech has turned the page from last Saturday’s upset loss to rival Montana Western in Dillon.

Despite the sting of falling from the ranks of the unbeaten, the Oredigger focus has shifted solely to this Saturday’s Frontier Conference battle against rival Carroll College in Helena.

Oredigger head coach Chuck Morrell said today that by the time his team took the practice field on Tuesday, the Western game was a distant memory. Morrell said that mindset isn’t easy, but it is a necessity.

“Any time you come off a loss it’s a challenge to the kids and the staff,” the coach said. “Saturday night, Sunday and Monday are tough days. But by the time you get back on the field on Tuesday, you’ve got to wipe it clean.”

Morrell said flushing the last game isn’t anything new for his team that isn’t exactly used to losing. Win or lose, the Orediggers take a similar approach.

“The same way you move on after a win, you’ve got to move on after a loss,” Morrell said. “That’s something that is always a challenge to do, but it’s got to be your mentality.”

That consistency is key to Tech’s success, Morrell said.

“Our mode of operation has got to be consistent all the time,” the coach said. “Because of a particular thing happening, we’re not going to change what we’re doing. There’s no wholesale changes. We’ve got a very detailed process that we’ve been following here for years, and we’re going to continue to follow the same process.”

The 4-1 Orediggers, who fell six spots to No. 11 in the NAIA, have five games to climb back up the rankings. If Tech wins out — including the Nov. 11 showdown with 5-0 Southern Oregon in Butte — the Orediggers will win their third straight Frontier Conference title.

If Tech doesn’t go 5-0 to close the season, the Orediggers could potentially miss the playoffs.

“That’s the one thing we talked about,” Morrell said. “It’s the exact same position we’ve been the last several years. We’ve been sitting her at 4-1, and we’ve got to go. You certainly don’t try force yourself into desperation mode, it’s just the critical component that every snap matters all the time — whether it’s a practice rep or a game rep.”

Morrell said the first step in the Orediggers bounce back will not be easy, but his team is in the right frame of mind.

“I think our guys have bounced back really nicely this week,” Morrell said. “We’re coming into another rivalry game on the road. I think I said this last week. Whether you drive 17 hours to Ashland, Oregon, or you drive an hour to Helena, it’s still a road game, and those are tough places to play.”