April 16, 2016

(STATS) - Transfer Tyler Bruggman has asserted himself as Montana State's likely new starting quarterback.

It's the most visible position new Bobcats coach Jeff Choate is filling in the offseason. Shortly after Choate's hiring in December, star quarterback Dakota Prukop announced he would use his final season of eligibility as a graduate transfer at Oregon.

The Bobcats hope to be in good hands with Bruggman, who completed 11 of 21 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown in the Sonny Holland spring game Friday night in Bozeman.

Bruggman even sounded like a team leader afterward as he looked at the big picture.

"At times there were ups and downs," he said, "but that's the sign of a great team when both sides of the ball can have success."

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Bruggman spent time in the Washington State and Louisville programs before settling into a big season last year at Scottsdale Community College in his native Arizona. The redshirt junior's chief competition for the No. 1 job, Jordan Hoy, announced earlier this month he would be leaving the Montana State program.

In the spring scrimmage, Bruggman led a 10-play scoring drive which ended in Will Krolick's 6-yard reception and a 14-play drive capped by Devon Tandberg's 43-yard field goal.

"I think (players) have gotten more comfortable with Tyler as Tyler has gotten more comfortable with the offense," Choate said. "He knows it better than anybody, and he should. He spends the time and preparation to be the leader of that group. I think the guys around him are recognizing that, and they're getting more comfortable with him as well."

Montana State is seeking to rebound from a 5-6 record in former coach Rob Ash's final season - the program's first losing mark since 2001. Choate has spent most of his 24 seasons in coaching within a 10-hour drive of Bozeman, including the last two leading the defensive line and special teams at Washington.

Much of Montana State's spring practices have been spent implementing the systems of offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham and defensive coordinator Ty Gregorak.

The Bobcats kick off the Choate era Sept. 1 with a visit to Idaho.

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