BOZEMAN – During Montana State’s final major football scrimmage Saturday, coach Rob Ash plans to closely evaluate the normal elements – blocking and tackling, scheme and pace.
Sunday, however, the shift is significant.
“It’s way different than the process you would go through after a game (or scrimmage),” Ash said, “because there is way more personnel evaluation involved. That will be the first thing we look at where there are personnel decisions be made – how did these guys play compared to other guys at their positions?”
Those personnel evaluations will likely go a long way toward deciding the positions that remain unclaimed, including high-profile spots such as quarterback, kicker and punter. Ash has indicated that starters could emerge as early as Sunday or Monday, although some could linger into next week.
“We’re operating under the same timeline as we have been,” he said. “If we’ve seen enough to determine a starter, we’ll go ahead and do it on Sunday or Monday. If not we’ll wait until we have all the information we need. There’s still time after this scrimmage.”
Saturday’s scrimmage kicks off at 10 a.m. in Bobcat Stadium – the team begins warming up at 9:15 am – and will simulate game action much closer than last Saturday’s scrimmage.
“We’re going to go basically ones and twos," Ash said. "It’ll look like the flow of a scrimmage or game. We’ll go with some special teams plays at the beginning, two or three kickoffs. We’ll try to get the flow of a game. There won’t be any game clock, we’ll just be going on a play count, and with the injuries we’ve had at a couple positions we were shooting for 100 plays originally, it’ll probably be closer to 80, about 40 for each of the two units.”
Ash said that while both coordinators continue to install schematic elements, evaluating Xs and Os takes a back seat to football fundamentals.
“(Scrimmaging is) hard because we’re not really preparing to play this defense,” he said. “We’re preparing for the whole season. That’s what everybody has to realize looking at what you see out here, it’s not the matchups that you would see in a game because (the offense is) not preparing a game plan (for the defense, it’s) preparing the entire package.”
The Bobcats take Sunday off before resuming double-days on Monday