Colin Bingham is an H-back receiver. He does the dirty work: Run-blocking, setting up routes, imposing his will.
The redshirt freshman from Missoula Big Sky notched his first career touchdown in Montana’s highest-scoring game last week against Mississippi Valley State and collected 21 yards receiving, his most in a game this season.
H-backs don’t get a lot of love, but in head coach Bob Stitt’s spread offense, no role is set in stone. Against MVSU, quarterback Brady Gustafson found Bingham with a 5-yard flick for six on what is now, uncoincidentally, Bingham’s new favorite route.
So if H-backs truly do the dirty work, Bingham and teammate Josh Horner must be the best at rolling up their sleeves in the Big Sky. After all, 627 yards against Southern Utah and 67 points a week later speaks for itself.
Gustafson ranks in the top five in total yards and pass yards among QBs, so it’s a good year to be on the receiving end of that.
The Missoulian talked to Bingham at a recent practice about his new role in the offense and his first score in maroon and silver.
Q. What’s been working or going right for this receiving corps?
A. A lot of stuff. Jerry (Louie-McGee) has been doing really well. James (Homan) in, he’s playing really well at Z. The guys on the outside are balling out. Everybody’s playing really well right now. Horner, the other H, he’s doing an awesome job as well.
Q. Could you walk me through that touchdown catch last week against Mississippi Valley State?
A. It was a check. He checked to our side and typically goes to the H. Brady just threw a perfect ball and I went up and got it. Pretty awesome experience, pretty cool feeling.
Q. What route was it?
A. Fargo. Back shoulder.
Q. You’re starting to become a lot more included in a very potent offense. How do you prepare for game days?
A. Our coach, Coach (Mike) Ferriter, he does a great job preparing us, breaking down the film with us. Just getting in watching film, studying their guys. That’s basically it. Just kind of knowing your job so well you can do it no matter what.
Q. Do you feel added weight or expectations now that you’re starting to become more inclusive in this offense?
A. No, not really. Just kind of do your one-eleventh, that’s kind of what Coach Stitt has been saying. Do your job. That’s all you can do, do that. If everybody can do their job we’re going to be fine.
Q. What does that mean to do your “one-eleventh?”
A. Whatever it is you have to do that play, you do it 100 percent, as hard as you can and as correct as possible.
Q. The receiver corps has been going off lately. The offense totaled 627 yards against Southern Utah, scored 67 points against Mississippi Valley State. What is the key to this group’s success?
A. It all starts with Brady. Brady’s doing an awesome job getting the ball to us. Coach Stitt puts together a really good game plan each week. These guys do a really good job each week executing, running crisp routes, going to catch the ball. That’s what happens when that all comes together.
Q. What strengths or advantages do you have that you try and emphasize when you’re on the field?
A. In high school I did a lot of run-blocking (as Big Sky's tight end). I kind of view that as my strength, I’d say. I try and kind of impose my will when run-blocking.
Q. What have you learned from some of the guys on the receiving corps?
A. Probably learned the most from the other H who I play with, Josh Horner. He’s taught me a lot about defenses, how to just react. It’s a lot about running routes.
Q. What specifically about defense and running routes has stuck with you?
A. I guess I’d say how to get out of the breaks in my routes. Coming into college I never ran a whole lot of routes. I guess that’s what’s stuck with me, how to get in and out of routes.
Q. What’s it like playing with Brady in practices versus games?
A. Brady’s awesome to work with. He’s very light, very fun. But he’s also very focused all the time. It’s been awesome. I’d say he practices how he plays. It’s always similar to his game.
Q. Favorite route?
A. Going to have to say the back shoulder Fargo.
Q. Why’s that?
A. It’s the one I scored on (laughs). I’ve got to go with that one.
Q. What’s the most important thing to you about being an H-back?
A. I guess we kind of do the dirty work of the offense. A lot of times we’ll be running routes to get guys open or blocking for other guys. I think to a lot of fans it might go unnoticed, but to our teammates and coaches it’s really appreciated.
Q. What’s it been like being from Missoula, playing at Big Sky High School and then getting to play here on the big stage?
A. There’s nothing like it. I’ve been to probably 90 percent of the home games ever since I was born. It’s just a dream come true. It’s awesome. After games, seeing everyone I know from high school, seeing people I knew growing up, it’s a pretty cool feeling.
Q. Do you play with any of the guys on the team that you used to play against in high school?
A. I can’t really remember.
Q. What was your major takeaway from the past three games when the offense just went off?
A. We’re executing and getting our stuff done and not messing around.
Q. Is the way this offense is performing a trend? Is this something to expect?
A. Yeah, I think now that we’re clicking, what you’ve seen the last two games, I think we have a pretty good chance to keep that up.