BOZEMAN — With All-American Isaiah Ifanse out due to injury, Montana State football head coach Brent Vigen was looking to see who would step on Saturday.
A trio of running backs answered the call.
Lane Sumner, Garrett Coon and DeMareus Hosey all scored rushing touchdowns in the Sonny Holland Classic at Bobcat Stadium as MSU wrapped up its spring camp. Those performances were reassuring as the Bobcats assesses their running game options.
"It allows for other guys to have to emerge, to be called upon," Vigen said of Ifanse being out. "And that's typically what you go through in the spring. It's just the product of a long, physical season. You get some guys fixed up.
"We had some guys pressed into duty that really took some strides this spring. And we need to continue to do that."
As the Bobcats begin looking toward the fall they can do so knowing that they have stability at the head coach position as Vigen on Friday was given a new four-year contract along with MSU women's head basketball coach Tricia Binford.
MSU men's head basketball coach Danny Sprinkle was also rewarded with a contract extension on April 6.
Vigen's new contract adds an additional year and keeps him in Bozeman through 2026.
"I appreciate the university adding another year to my contract," Vigen said. "I think that shows faith in the job we're doing. Coach Binford, Coach Sprinkle, I think we've got a good thing going. I'm happy for all of us and I'm excited to keep leading this program."
Another big storyline from MSU's spring camp has been the health of Tommy Mellott who injured his ankle early in the FCS Championship against North Dakota State.
He looked plenty mobile in MSU's scrimmage, at one point during a play seeming to forget he was in a gold no-contact jersey and bolting out of the pocket. A player on the Gray Team defense jokingly told him he needed to "put on a blue jersey."
He went straight into physical therapy after the Bobcats' season concluded and said he felt completely recovered about midway through spring camp.
"First week back I was slow, I wasn't doing much," he said. "But after Week 3 I felt great and was pretty much back up to 100."
Sean Chambers, a Wyoming transfer, is competing with Mellott for the starting job. Austin through three interceptions in the scrimmage but also connected with Derryk Snell for a 15-yard touchdown to spark a Gray Team comeback win. Mellott completed 11-of-16 passes with no touchdown and no interceptions.
MSU will now begin drafting a two-deep depth chart but if anything is certain, it's that Mellott — who began the 2021 as the Bobcats' fourth-string signal caller — isn't focused on rankings. Instead, he'll zero in on continuing to improve as he looks toward the summer.
"At this point, it's getting into shape, it's making up for those eight weeks," he said of the span of time he was out of action as his ankle recovered. "I thought I made a bunch of strides. I'm really happy with the offense right now. I'm excited for the summer and to work these guys some more."