BOZEMAN — Montana State University rolled to its seventh-straight victory last Saturday with a win 27-9 over Idaho State. Now, the No. 6 Bobcats have two weeks to prepare for No. 7 Eastern Washington.
“Bye week couldn't come at a better time for us and there’s some healing to do," said head coach Brent Vigen. "There’s some catching our breath in general, I think. That’s the nature of football season being eight games in and we got a big opponent ahead of us.”
Speaking of healing, Vigen said injured starters linebacker Callahan O’Reilly, defensive lineman Chase Benson, offensive lineman TJ session and defensive back Tyrel Thomas should be able to play against the Eagles.
“As far as the health of our team, we got to work through that this week," he said. "We do have to heal, but I anticipate we’ll be as healthy as we’ve been in quite some time.”
The Montana State’s coaching staff will be taking advantage of the bye week to do some recruiting.
“Our coaches will get out, myself included will get out and do some recruiting at the tail-end of the week," Vigen said. "I think that’s always an important part of what you accomplish during the bye week. But I think more than anything, it’s an opportunity for us to kind of recalibrate, honestly, as a football team.”
As for his team’s play on the field, the head coach would like to see his team focus on some of the basic fundamentals.
“That’s the ground based level of football is blocking and tackling and we have to do both of those better," said the Bobcats head coach. "Is that a product of playing eight consecutive games? Probably to some degree.”
One thing Vigen knows is that they need to get quarterback Matthew McKay back on track after two rough games. Combined from those games, McKay completed 22 of 40 passes for a total of 202 yards.
“If you isolate just the last two weeks you can get pretty frustrated," said Vigen on evaluating McKay's performace. "I think just bringing him back, fundamentally for him I think going back and cleaning some things up — timing wise cleaning some things up are certainly going to be on the task list these next couple days for sure.”
Montana State is the highest ranked Big Sky conference team in the FCS, but Vigen says his team isn’t worried about that right now.
“We got three regular season games left," he said. "The most important one is the one in front us. Like where we’re at. We got a ways to go as far as that’s concerned.”