The view from Bozeman, Montana

Aggie Websider was the first website to bring you the scoop from Montana State beat writer Tim Dumas last week. Want to know who you should watch for this weekend when the Bobcats come to Kyle Field? Does he think MSU has a chance against the Aggies? Read more from Dallas Shipp's one-on-one interview.

AW: Everyone has read about the issues off the field over the last year or so. How big of a factor are those issues going into 2007?
Dumas:
It's been an interesting off-season. After the playoffs ended it started with the coach possibly leaving and going to his alma-mater. Then he was staying and that blew over after a while, then we had the arrests and the coach got fired. The new coaching staff comes in and there's questions left and right with that. It's been a crazy offseason and a lot of people are looking forward to a story that involves a game score rather than the off the field issues.

AW: What do you think this team is capable of this year?
Dumas:
In a league that's not as strong as it has been over the years, Montana is going to be really strong, but this is a team that can probably go 6-5, 7-4. It's hard to gauge how this new coach will project on the field, but they'll probably be a little bit over .500 in my opinion.

AW: Do you think this Bobcat team can pull off an upset against a Big 12 team for the second year in a row?
Dumas:
If they played Colorado again, maybe, but since they're playing Texas A&M I highly doubt that. We're going into a whole new world. When they went to Colorado last year, there were a lot of empty seats and no one really took Montana State seriously and they probably shouldn't have. This time in College Station it's going to be a little different. I'm not going to predict an upset here, that's for sure.

They're a team that can probably stay in it for a half, if they can stay healthy enough through the 60 minutes, I think they'd be really pleased because they do have a bye week coming up. One of the things with these games at the beginning of the season like this is you want to stay healthy. You don't want to mortgage the future on this one game. You don't want a couple of key injuries from this one game that could be detrimental to the season. There's really not a whole lot riding on this game in the

AW: Who are some playmakers that A&M fans should pay attention to?
Dumas:
They've got two quarterbacks who both started last season. They weren't expecting to split them up, but one got injured last year so they both started 6 games last season. That race is still yet to be determined. The coach said he'd name a starting QB on Monday. They're both fairly similar and I think you'll see a lot of short passes with this team. Neither of them are great runners, so it's a matter of them being good field generals and they both have that.

AW: How about the running backs and receivers?
Dumas:
Aaron Mason took over the starting duties as a true freshman last year and ran for 192 yards in his first start. He broke down towards the end of the season but when you're 17, 18 years old, that's going to happen. Other than that, most of their receiving corps is new this year.

AW: And on defense?
Dumas:
Defensively, that's been their calling card the last 7-8 years., Their entire linebacking corps is back, and they've got one cornerback that's from Galveston. They've got some good starters, but playing against a team like Texas A&M, who probably has great players 3-deep, that's where the difference will be in a game like this.

If there's going to be competition in this game on Sept 1, it's going to be because Montana State's defense plays well enough to keep the score down for a while. If Montana State can score touchdowns or get points anyway they can, it could be a close game for a little while just because MSU does have a quality defense.

AW: What kind of offense does MSU bring to Kyle Field?
Dumas:
Traditionally they've been a very pass heavy offense but I think they'll be very balanced this year, just from what I've seen. They don't really have a deep threat down field, but there will be throws to the running backs, seven yard passes to the receivers, we do have some good position receivers but they don't have the deep threat they've had the past couple of years.

If they do go to a lot of passes, you'll see a lot of short ones. I don't think you'll see a lot down past 15-20 yards. That's just what I've seen right now. Everyone's in a guessing game right now because of the new coach.

The coach calls himself an offensive coach so we may see some surprises in there as well.

AW: Who are the most talented guys on the team?
Dumas:
They have a linebacker named Bobby Daly and he's the leading returning tackler in the Big Sky Conference. They also have a lineman who transferred from Wash State, his name is Reyshaun Bobo.

They don't have a player like Michael Jefferson who was from Texas and he's now with the Cowboys. They don't have anyone like that. I don't see many NFL type players on this team, but most of the talent is on the defense.

Will Claggett is another LB you can throw in there. He's a great leader and he's a vocal leader. He's No. 41 and plays next to Bobby Daly. I don't think there are a lot of stars here, but sometimes that's a good thing because you can have a better team when you don't have a lot of stars.

AW: Are the Bobcats ready to play in the Texas heat on September 1?
Dumas:
We had six weeks when it was around 95 and low 100's so they did have one week of solid two a days with the heat, but it's very dry here. When you add heat and humidity, that could be a problem late in the game, but they don't seem too worried about it.

AW: Any predictions for this week's game?
Dumas:
In two years against Big 12 teams, MSU has outscored Okla State and Colorado combined. They lost to OSU by 5 and beat Colorado by 9. I'm not predicting an upset, but they may surprise some people down there and they'll come ready to play. 34-10, Aggies.




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