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WIU vs. Montana State

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:02 pm
by BozeAngeles Cat
Hi, so after posting about anyone coming to Bozeman, I would like to know a little bit more about WIU's team this year. I am now reading the position previews. It looks like you have a good QB and two good RB's. If someone could give me a 2-3 paragraph synopsis about your team this year, I'd appreciate it. I know you have been the playoffs lately and are a good team, but some specifics about defense, offense, returners, who you lost, etc etc.

As for the Bobcats, here's what I think about us this year. I will keep my conversation more qualitative and less about stats.

This will be Head Coach Jeff Choate's 3rd season and Bobcat fans are generally excited for this to a break-out year after two losing seasons. After we fired Rob Ash after several of the winningest seasons in our history, Choate has been installing his "system" and players. We've had two losing seasons, but last year there were several close and competitive games that we could have and should have won and could have had a winning season. Choate is a defense-minded person that says he wants to ground and pound on offense and have a tough defense. One of the first moves he made was to hire the former Defensive Coordinator for many years at Montana our evil rival to the west. This was considered a sensational move at the time. Choate was a D-Line coach at Washington and had worked under Chris Peterson since Boise State.

The Cats return numerous starters on offense and defense. Many would consider our recruiting classes in the last few years are some of the best we've had in several years. Choate hired former Bobcat great QB Denarius McGhee as an offensive coach (now RB's) and he has really contributed on the recruiting front. Our offensive coordinator was a successful OC and Head Coach at NAIA Rocky Mountain college. He seems to call good games with a lot of dynamic plays, but we have had to mold our offense around are extremely talented, yet inconsistent QB Chris Murray.

On offense, we have Chris Murray (Big Sky Freshman of Year 2016) returning as a stellar running quarterback with emerging consistency at passing. 6'2" Murray rushed for 1,200 yards last year and is a speed demon. Fastest kid on the team, 4.4-4.5 type quick and fast 100 yard sprinter. While his completions, passing yards and accuracy have improved, he has still not broken out yet as a complete QB. They are challenging him with two transfers and possibly moving our star running back, Troy Anderson, into a competing QB (which he was in high school). I continue to think that Chris will remain our QB. His passing is improving and he is now just turning 19, so he is maturing. We return 4/5 offensive lineman and seem fairly solid there. Troy Anderson (Big Sky Fresman of Year 2017) is a running back and linebacker. He played as a true freshman last year and a complete stud, ran for 500 yards and had 9 tackles with one TFL - he is a stud and runs people over. He was a 2X all state QB and 100 meter dash record holder. We have stacked the RB position with a huge transfer Tyler Natee, 260 lbs, runs a 4.69 40 and squats 500 lbs transfer from Indiana - everyone in the Big Sky is watching to see how this guy does - freight train.

We lost a key receiver, Jabarri Johnson, this spring to an injury and we lost a great receiver to graduation, so I believe this is our largest weak link. We have several capable receivers and just scored a huge transfer in Maleek Barkley from Arkansas, but you never know until they perform.

Overall on offense, if Chris Murray can improve to be a true dual threat QB, this could be a very huge year. In your game against the Bobcats, WIU's defensive gameplan is going to have to contend with the running back play from both Anderson and Natee, but also the option of Murray running. Murray is extremely elusive - if he gets two steps, he is gone. Then again, if they focus too much on those three, then it could open up the pass game. If Murray makes good decisions, his passing strength is good and his accuracy/chemistry with WR's is improving. PREVENT BIG PLAYS.

On defense, I would say we have a lot of moving pieces here. Two key players graduated and kind of weak around backfield pressure on the QB. While have a lot of talent to fill various "shoes," I tend to think our defense could be more questionable than the offense starting off the year.

Ty Gregorak runs a 4-3 D and switches up the looks a lot. Some people joke that he runs a bend but don't break D. Our defensive performance was the highlight of last year but the Cats lacked a true pass rush D line, no heat on the QB. I am just not sure we had the size or the aggressiveness on the edge. There are three returners that saw a lot of starting/playing time DT Tucker Yates is a big boy, Zach Wright at tackle and Derek Marks at End. There will be some competition this year on the buck end, but we have a good probable starter Jacob Hadley - he was injured last year but is a high hopeful.

On defense, we graduated stand-outs Mac Bignel/LB, Bryson McCabe/S. Khari Garcia and Bryce Alley at CB. At LB, we have Brayden Konkol, Grant Collins, Josh Hill all coming back with good success. Grant Collins played DE last year due to some injuries, but he is a very tough and mobile LB. The third LB spot will be a competition entering the fall. Maleek Putney is could play safety as a true freshman and was a huge recruiting score for the team. We will need to find our starters for two cornerbacks and this is a blind spot.

So there you have it, while I would like to know a lot more about WIU, the Cats should be a pretty good team this year. The Leathernecks will enter Bobcat stadium viewed as an equal and legitimate opponent. The gameday experience, stadium noise and fan craziness will not go unnoticed by WIU. It gets very loud. I would say that we are very stacked on offense with some questions around receiver. On defense, our system is sound but we have lost 2-3 critical players that will need to see solid replacements this summer.

Lastly, we all know you play the Griz this year, so good luck there and FTG. Bobcats hate Grizzlies with a passion and we cheer for their opposition whenever possible.

Re: WIU vs. Montana State

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:55 pm
by ST_Lawson
I haven't really gotten around to getting my full preview of our team together yet. I usually do it position by position throughout the summer (although admittedly, I am a bit behind schedule currently).

I did just notice this come across the twitters though:

Re: WIU vs. Montana State

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:40 pm
by sealhall74
ST_Lawson wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:55 pm
I haven't really gotten around to getting my full preview of our team together yet. I usually do it position by position throughout the summer (although admittedly, I am a bit behind schedule currently).

I did just notice this come across the twitters though:
I actually like the idea of "variable redshirt years". I think a coach has to look at each kid individually. Too easy just to have all freshman sit out their first year. Now that kids hopefully get a little PT during their first year, coaches may be able to make those tough decisions about when would be the best time to take a year off and develop what needs developing.

Re: WIU vs. Montana State

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:56 pm
by sealhall74
I spent the day farting around scraping some schedule stuff off the MVFC web site. Little bit tricky to do as they went to a dynamic AJAX calendar setup instead of simple html tables but I got lucky and found a back door. Using the schedule along with Massey predictions for each game, I came up with the
"Probability of K Wins" forecast. The numbers below correspond to the probability of 0, 1, 2, ..., 11 wins, respectively. Seven or eight Ws is looking very likely for us this year.

[Western Illinois, 0.00, 0.00, 0.00, 0.00, 0.02, 0.07, 0.17, 0.26, 0.26, 0.15, 0.05, 0.00]

Here is how all conference teams stack up this year.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... ingle=true

Re: WIU vs. Montana State

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:08 am
by BozeAngeles Cat
Yes, so obviously pretty bad loss for MSU losing Murray to academics. We have 4 legit backup contenders, but that clearly throws a wrench in our season outlook