BUTTE – The Montana Tech football team had a lot to get through on Saturday, it’s final day of fall camp.
Players were hustling to get on and off the field. Offensive units were taking turns showing what they could do, while their counterparts on the defensive side of the ball keyed on disruption.
Special teams units made sure that they were in the right spots at the time, while the Orediggers coaching staff kept things moving at a hurried but steady pace.
“We just had to challenge ourselves to get into game-ready setups so we wanted to make it close to that, Montana Tech head coach Chuck Morrell said. “Obviously you can’t completely simulate a perfect game-day environment but we wanted to simulate it as close as we could.
“We run a lot of different personnel groups on offense, defense, special teams. We wanted to make sure that all those transitions were there and smooth.”
A handful of quarterbacks took turns leading the offense while jostling for position under Quinn McQueary on the depth chart. Players at other positions did the same, although Morrell admitted that he’s still looking for a starter at a position or two. The competition will only make the team better in the long run.
“Quinn has had a fantastic camp,” Morrell said. “He’s looked as good as he’s ever looked since he’s been here. Our receivers, there is a lot of depth there and those guys are making a ton of plays. They are physical.
“I want to find the guys that we’re going to be able to trust to be on the field in some special-teams spots but there are also some guys competing for starting time (Saturday). This gave them the opportunity to go out there for one last live situation before we go out there on Aug. 31. I want to be able to have guys that are pushing each other. If there is competition at spots, it also means that we have depth.”
The Orediggers won the last two Frontier Conference championships and will start the defense of their latest one when they host Carroll College on Aug. 31.
Morrell and his staff are not about to take anything for granted, especially since their only conference loss of last season came on opening day – against Carroll College.
“They’re a fantastic football team and it’s going to be a heck of a game,” Morrell said of the Fighting Saints.
Not much has been said by Tech’s players or coaches about Carroll College. There will be plenty of time for that.
“We’ll get to them next week,” Morrell said. “We’ll slowly build into Carroll. “Our practice time gets really short from here on out and there are little bits and pieces that we’ll start putting in here to get ready for the 31st.
The focus to this point has been on Montana Tech and Morrell said that it’s needed to be that way.
“We really have done very little so far (about Carroll) just because we had a lot of work to do on ourselves,” Morrell explained. “We made great progress. “Our offense is really showing that they’re a veteran crew. We’ve got some great depth at almost every position.
“Defensively, we’ve kind of re-found our identity. We’ve got some new faces in there and we had to re-establish our identity. It’s great to see. I think we’ve done that.”