BOZEMAN — Heading into Week One, Montana State head coach Brent Vigen knew there was going to be a level of unpredictability against McNeese State.
The reason being because the Bobcats were not only playing against a program that had an entirely new coaching staff, but the Cowboys also had roster filled with more newcomers than returners.
That may have fueled Saturay's slower start, but after some adjustments, the Bobcats took control of Saturday’s game leveling the Cowboys 40-17.
“In some regard, I think it’s more comforting to be on your normal schedule," Vigen shared during Monday's presser. "I think especially when you have an opponent like we did where we were really guessing, I think there was a lot of uncertainty obviously in that. But now we go game one to game two and we have to show real improvement.”
One of those areas Vigen touched on that needs refinement is tackling.
Giving up chunk plays was a rare occasion in 2021, but on Saturday the Cowboys had four that popped: one for 75, 66, and two for 31 yards.
“I think sometimes it’s hard to know where you’re at until you know where you’re at – until you play a game," he explained. "It’s one thing to look at practice and maybe look at some scrimmage time against one another, but until you play an opponent it’s harder to get a gage, so we have that now and we need to take this week to take a step forward.”
While uncertainty may have played a factor in some of the miscues last Saturday, Morehead State couldn’t be more of a different blueprint.
“It’s a different scenario this week," Vigen stated. "We’re facing an outfit that we’ve seen on film. Both coordinators have been at their program for some time now, so I think we know what we’re going to see and that’s much different than it was last week.”
The Eagles had a tough Week Zero game against No. 23 ranked Mercer losing 63-13, but the program has had two weeks to regroup coming off a bye.
“They were out to stop the run certainly against Mercer," he recalled. "They did give up some plays in the run game, but it wasn’t for lack of being physical. I think they got themselves caught into some situations where Mercer was able to get the ball over the top.”
However, Morehead State is not a team Vigen is grazing over. The Eagles went 4-7 last fall finishing third in the Pioneer League.
“They threw for a lot of yards, but they did lose a very productive quarterback, a very productive receiver, they lost their top back, so they had a lot of people to replace on offense," Vigen explained. "Playing with a lot of freshmen and sophomores on offense.”
On the contrary, the Eagles have a lot more continuity on the defensive side of the ball — a unit that Vigen says is aggressive and expects will try to apply a lot of pressure near the line of scrimmage.
“I think the thing we have to look at is okay this is what they look like Week One, but anticipate a better-looking crew just based on experience. They have their game one out of the way, and while it didn’t go well for them they have an extra week to prepare for us.”
Montana State versus Morehead State kicks off Saturday at 1:30 pm.