BOZEMAN — As the calendar turns to fall, the long-awaited return of Bobcat football is finally here.
Montana State took the field Thursday morning to kick off fall camp, which also marked 30 days away from their home opener against McNeese State.
“First day in the books, and I know for us - like I said yesterday - this is such an incredibly exciting day because there are things you don’t know about your team you start finding out today," Bobcats head football coach Brent Vigen said. "We’ll take a look at the film obviously, but it felt like some of the guys that I’m putting eyes on for the first time - in a team setting I guess - I like what I saw out of them.”
Two of those players Vigen singled out Thursday were running backs: Grad transfer Kaegun Williams, and true freshman Jared White.
Creating depth at running back was a big priority this offseason, but with news that All-American Isaiah Ifanse will be missing fall camp and is still considered month-to-month in his recovery, the Bobcats are looking for someone to take over that workload come Sept. 3.
“I think we have a ton of running backs that have a lot of expectations that they’re going to be stepping up and competing for us splitting between Keagun [Williams], Elijah [Elliot], Jared [White], Lane [Sumner], and whoever else can get in that rotation," sophomore quarterback Tommy Mellott stated. "I think we have a lot of guys that are competing for it and just getting to see them out here today was great.”
Williams transferred to Montana State this summer after graduating from San Diego State University, which is an FBS program known for producing running backs. While Williams played more of a backup role for the Aztecs, Vigen had high praise for him heading into Thursday's camp
"I think at San Diego State whenever given the opportunity he really excelled whether that was reps at running back, carrying it, catching it on the backfield, playing special teams," Vigen listed. "That was one of the things that really jumped out."
However, another running back that could play in an integral role in Ifanse's absence is Elijah Elliot. As a freshman, he finished third in rushing (319 yards) behind Mellott (716 yards) and feels confident heading into the fall with a year under his belt.
“I think I’m ready," Elliot shared. "I think I’m ready for it and just whatever the team needs, like I said I’m ready to do what I need to do for the team. I worked hard this summer, I gained weight, I’m faster and stronger, so mentally I’m ready and physically I’m ready.”