Saturday’s season-opening football game between Montana Tech and Eastern Oregon has turned into something of a mystery for the Orediggers.
The Mountaineers will have a new offensive coordinator, potentially a new offensive system and a new quarterback when the take the field at Alumni Coliseum for the 6 p.m. game.
Eastern Oregon head coach Tim Camp hasn’t said who is starting quarterback will be.
The coach lists two quarterbacks — juniors Tyler Pine and Jason Simonis — on the team’s two-deep roster. He doesn’t, however, say which one will be playing.
The Orediggers countered by not saying who will start behind center for them — Brian Schwarzkoph or Nick Backer.
Tech coach Chuck Morrell, who has informed his team but not the media who will take the first snap, insists that both quarterbacks will play on Saturday and beyond.
“Both of those guys are going to see playing time,” Morrell said. “You won’t see us flipping quarterbacks between series, but both those guys are going to be involved in the game plan.”
The Orediggers don’t know what to expect from the Mountaineers. They just expect them to be good.
Morrell suspects Pine, a Feather River College transfer, will be the man charged with filling the shoes of four-year starter Chris Ware. The Orediggers studied film of Pine when he was at the JC.
“Chris Ware is a tough guy to replace, but I really feel like this quarterback does some things more consistently mechanically than Ware did,” Morrell said. “Chris was a great player, but he kind of played off the cuff. This guy is pretty efficient. He gets the ball out really fast. I’m not saying they’re not going to miss Ware, but I think he can step in and hold his own.”
The Orediggers also suspect junior Chris McGinnis-Parker will be the man who replaces Kevin Sampson at running back, even though McGinnis-Parker is listed as the backup.
Tech also saw film of McGinnis-Parker.
“He’s got some big-time speed,” Morrell said. “In a lot of senses, he’s very similar to Sampson. He is a very dynamic running back. Any time he touches the ball he can house it. He’s got that type of speed.”