Montana State University coach Jeff Choate was very candid about what he thought of the so-called experts that picked his Bobcats to finish 8th in the Big Sky Conference in 2018 on the Shadowboat Ride Friday afternoon at the KwaTaqNuk Resort.
“This is going to be a really good year,” Choate said with confidence. “We have one tough group of kids. We have the talent and we are going to be really really tough this year. Our kids responded and are in position to win. Quite honestly, we just weren’t ready to do that last year. We are a confident team team this year and we control our own destiny. Now I am like, ‘good we will see (how we do) on game day.’”
Choate boasted of his team’s physical nature of football that has earned his team a reputation in coaching circles.
“The word (around our conference) is no one wants to play us because we are a very physical match up and we run the ball and play great defense,” Choate said. “(Our team) isn’t going to go anywhere and we will be there in the fourth quarter to win the game. We have the discipline, the experience on the defensive line and a talent infusion at wide out and in the secondary.”
14 members of the Bobcats’ coaching staff attended the boat ride and golf scramble at the Polson golf course to meet and greet fans.
Choate, now in his third year as the Bobcats’ coach, said building the team to meet his image has become a systematic process. Currently, Choate’s record at the helm of coaching the Cats is 9-14.
“We put a little foundation on our team and pretty soon we started building (our team) brick by brick,” Choate said. “Right now, we have a ton of kids that understand what we are trying to accomplish. There is no such thing as perfect. Football isn’t a game of perfect and life isn’t a game of perfect. It just doesn’t work that way. Over time our kids will become accountable. When you hold kids accountable, some of them will fall to the wayside and others will rise above that standard. We have a group of kids that bought into what we are trying to accomplish and get it.”
The quarterback situation, which is still up in the air, could fall into the hands of Troy Anderson, the former star quarterback from Dillon.
“Whoever we decide to play (at quarterback) we are going to be fine,” Choate said. “The team will rally around our guy because they understand that we put the best players in that position. I have coached in places like Florida, Washington and Washington State and Troy could be in any one of those places at multiple positions. He is a once-in-lifetime talent.”
Choate, who will enter his third year as MSU’s head coach, looks to improve on last year’s record that saw his team finish 5-6 overall including a 31-23 victory over the Grizzlies in the season finale.
“I promise you no one wants a piece of the Bobcats (this season),” Choate said.