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Montana State football loses Taufalele, adds three new faces

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BOZEMAN, Mont. – Montana State assistant football coach Joshua Taufalele, who has held roles of increasing responsibility since joining the Bobcats staff in 2017, has resigned for personal reasons, Bobcat head coach Jeff Choate announced Monday. 

Taufalele, who is relocating from Bozeman with his family, coached Montana State’s offensive line starting in 2017-18. The Cats finished among the top 20 FCS teams in rushing each season. Before the 2019 season, Taufalele had transitioned to tight ends coach while adding the role of recruiting coordinator to his title. “Josh has been an invaluable member of our staff the last two seasons,” Choate said, “and while I hate losing him as a coach, I have so much respect for him as a man willing to take care of his family and make that his top priority.” 

Taufalele turned an inexperienced 2017 offensive line into a balanced, productive unit. That progress continued through the 2018 season. MSU finished seventh in the FCS in rushing yards per game in 2017, 17th in 2018, and last fall rushed for a school-record 5.7 yards per carry. Isaiah Ifanse set a school rushing record in 2018, the same season that Troy Andersen rushed for more yards than any previous quarterback in Big Sky history. “Josh was instrumental in building our program, and integral in our success running the football,” Choate said. “But of all the things that we’ll miss about Josh, his ability to build relationships and gain the respect of everyone in our program will be the hardest to replace.”

Former Montana State offensive line coach Josh Taufalele/by Brooks Nuanez

Choate has reached into his past for Taufalele’s replacement, tabbing former Boise State standout Nate Potter. The College of Idaho offensive line coach in 2018, when the Coyotes finished 6-5 and 22nd in the final NAIA poll, coached a pair of All-Frontier League linemen last fall. He played at BSU from 2006-11, capping a spectacular career with consensus All-America honors in 2011. He was also a Lowe’s Senior Class Award Finalist that year, earning first team all-conference honors three times (All-WAC in 2009-10, All-Mountain West 2011). Potter was inducted into the BSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018. 

Potter was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the seventh round of the 2012 draft, and over parts of three seasons with the Cardinals played in 44 games and started six on the offensive line. He became offensive quality control assistant at his alma mater in October 2014, before becoming an offensive graduate assistant there for the 2015, ’16 and ’17 seasons. He joined the College of Idaho staff in the spring of 2018. “I’m very excited to add someone very familiar with our culture and values to our coaching staff,” Choate said. “He’s a talented coach, and as an Academic All-America he’s obviously a very bright young man. I’m really excited about what he brings to our program.”

Choate also announced the addition of this season’s interns. His staff lost Joe Dunning, who became an assistant coach at Rocky Mountain College, and Patrick Carroll, who joined the Dickinson State coaching staff, after the 2018 season.

Jonathan Amosa is no stranger to Choate, or the Treasure State football scene. He coached running backs at MSU-Northern in 2018, also aiding in recruiting and strength and conditioning. A former Washington Huskies walk-on, he worked his way into a full scholarship in his third season, and became the team’s starting fullback for the 2011 and ’12 seasons. He earned Honorable Mention All-Pac 12 academic honors in 2012, and was UW’s Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity Scholar that season. He spent training camp time with the Green Bay Packers (2013) and Seattle Seahawks (2016).

“Jon is a player who I just missed coaching at Washington, he was leaving as I was arriving, but he had a couple of stints in the NFL and has a desire to go into coaching,” Choate said of his new offensive intern. “I’m super excited to be able to hire a young guy with his playing and coaching experience. He works closely with FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) so he’ll be a great resource for student-athletes interested in that area, as well.” 

Montana State head coach Jeff Choate with running backs coach DeNarius McGhee and former offensive line coach Josh Taufalele /by Brooks Nuanez

Hayden Schuh comes to Montana State as an analyst after working as a defensive graduate assistant at UC Berkeley in 2017-18, where he worked with former Bobcat assistant coach Gerald Alexander. Schuh played football at Washington from 2014-17, serving as a team captain and earning Pac 12 All-Academic honors in 2016. He was the Husky Excellence 12th Man Award winner in 2016, and earned Brian Stapp Special Teams Scout of the Year Award in 2014. An Eagle Scout, he also served at church missions in Mexico in 2009 and ’10, and interned in a Seattle law office. 

“Hayden was an excellent special teams player for us at Washington, one of the smartest players I’ve ever had an opportunity to coach,” Choate said. “He was a former walk-on who became an integral part of our special teams units. He’s wrapping up his master’s degree from Berkeley, and I’m excited about adding Hayden to our coaching staff. He will be an analyst who assists us in player personnel, take our evaluation of prospective student-athletes to the next level. He will help DeNarius (McGhee) in recruiting, help Cole (Moore) in operations, and work as an analyst in all three phases (offense, defense, special teams).” 

Photos by Brooks Nuanez. Press Release courtesy of Andrew Pedersen – Montana State Sports Information.

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