BOZEMAN — This time last year not only looked different but felt a lot different for Montana State sophomore quarterback Tommy Mellott.
At the time he was considered the new guy on campus taking reps as the fourth-string quarterback, but in a matter of seven months, Mellott became the leader Montana State needed taking them to the biggest stage in the FCS.
“I didn’t get a ton of reps last year going into the season, so when I got in, the coaching staff really took care of me in what we ran during games," Mellott said.
However, with his role more clear this spring — as well as an ankle that’s nearing full strength after injuring it in the title game — these next few weeks hold a different weight this time around.
“Tommy emerged in a lot of ways through December last year, but he’s intent on taking another step," head coach Brent Vigen said.
"I’m really just trying to improve my knowledge of the game - defenses, our offense, protections," Mellott said. "I have a million things I have to improve on.”
If the postseason was any indication, Mellott had no problem running the ball averaging nearly 25 carries a game minus the FCS Championship, which is why at the top of his list this spring is all about passing.
“We’re trying to make spring ball more about the passing game as much as possible and not just him taking off running," Vigen explained. "A week into it, I like where he’s at. His grasp of all that we're doing - while it was good back in December, he’s taking that to another level.”
Of course, the elephant in the room is his new competition this spring, but Mellott was quick to reassure the addition of Wyoming transfer Sean Chambers has been nothing but beneficial for the Bobcats.
“We’re both bouncing some things off of each other and it’s been great," Mellott said. "We’ve been emphasizing it the entire time so far our quarterback group has got to improve. We’re going to push each other. Everyone is going to push each other - Sean Austin, Jordan Reed - all of those guys are part of it.”
“They’re getting reps, and that’s the key to how we’re doing things," Vigen added. "That position as much as any of them, those guys need to learn by doing and you can see some real progress in all of them this week.”
Spring ball will commence on Saturday, April 23 with the Sonny Holland Classic at Bobcat Stadium with kickoff set for 1 p.m.