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Choate hires Udy from Texas Tech to lead Bobcat offense


BOZEMAN — Montana State head coach Jeff Choate has spent the weeks since his team’s loss in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs revamping the Bobcat offense.

Less than a week after MSU’s 42-14 loss at No. 1 and eventual national champion North Dakota State, Choate signed 13 offensive players with the opening of the early signing period, including transfer quarterback Matt McKay (North Carolina State), junior college transfer wide receiver Naequan Parker (American River CC) and early enrollee wide receiver Charles Brown (Arlington, Texas).

In January, offensive coordinator Matt Miller left for the wide receivers coach job at Boise State, his alma mater. A few weeks later, running backs coach and recruiting coordinator DeNarius McGhee left for a position with the Houston Texans. Last week, Choate hired Jiimmy Beal to coach MSU’s running backs.

On Wednesday, Choate signed eight more players, including four more offensive players, a group that included Laney College transfer wide receiver Tayvian Williams.

On Wednesday evening before a National Signing Day event at the Rialto Theatre in Bozeman, Choate told a gathering of media he had chosen Miller’s replacement as Montana State’s offensive coordinator.

Soon after, Skyline Sports confirmed that Choate will hire Justin Udy as MSU’s next offensive play caller. Udy will be the fifth offensive coordinator under Choate as the head coach enters his fifth season at the helm. Udy spent last season as an offensive quality control assistant under Texas Tech offensive coordinator David Yost.

The Eastern Oregon alum played quarterback and wide receiver for the Mountaineers between 2007 and 2011 before beginning his coaching career at his alma mater. He served various roles at EOU between 2011 and 2015.

Former Texas Tech offensive assistant Justin Udy/by Texas Tech Athletics

Udy last served as an offensive coordinator at South Dakota School of Mines between 2015 and 2017. He served as the Hardrockers’ offensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach the final two years of his tenure.

South Dakota School of Mines averaged 31.1 points per game and 448.7 yards of total average (248.4 passing, 200.3 rushing) during the 2017. Running back Brandon LaBrie was tabbed the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year that season and earned second team All-RMAC honors as one of four all-conference performers for the Hardrockers.

During the 2016 campaign, South Dakota School of Mines set the school record for total offense in both a game (681 yards versus Black Hills State) and a season after racking up 5,486 yards. The Hardrockers also set the single-season marks for rushing yards (2,674) and points (415) under Udy’s direction. Udy’s offense set a total of seven school records during his time as coordinator.

Udy joined Matt Wells’ staff at Utah State for the 2018 season as a defensive administrative assistant. He then moved back to the offensive side of the ball at Texas Tech when Wells took the head coaching job in Lubbock before the 2019 season.

Former Eastern Oregon wide receiver Justin Udy (6)/by Eastern Oregon Athletics

Last season, Texas Tech averaged 30.5 points per game. The Red Raiders rushed for 149.6 yards per contest and threw for 324.7 yards per outing during a 4-8 finish. One of those wins was a 45-10 win over Montana State.

Under Miller’s direction, the Bobcat offense continued to pound opponents with a versatile, tough rushing attack. MSU rushed for 258.1 yards per game, amassing 44 rushing touchdowns despite the limited abilities of star running back Isaiah Ifanse and star do-everything two-way stud Troy Andersen. The Bobcats also threw for 168.5 yards per game, the highest average under Choate. MSU scored 32.7 yards per contest.

An official announcement on Udy’s hiring is expected later this week.

Photo attribution noted. Main photo courtesy of Texas Tech athletics. All Rights Reserved.

About Colter Nuanez

Colter Nuanez is the co-founder and senior writer for Skyline Sports. After spending six years in the newspaper industry with stops at the Missoulian, the Ellensburg Daily Record and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the former Washington Newspaper Association Sportswriter of the Year and University of Montana Journalism School graduate ('09) has cultivated a deep passion for sports journalism during his 13-year career covering the Big Sky Conference. In August of 2014, Colter and brother Brooks merged their passions of writing and art to found Skyline Sports.

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