Big news concerning the Bobcat football community was announced Wednesday afternoon as Montana State University announced that starting quarterback Chris Murray will sit out the 2018 football season in order to focus on academics.
"I think for our team, this is not something that is a surprise," said head coach Jeff Choate in a Wednesday press conference. "This has been something that we knew was a possibility and we didn't get any closure on it until Monday."
Coach Choate can only release so much information due to various policies, but says as a team they have been planning accordingly.
"Chris was working out with the team, but he was not taking reps in player-run practices of 7-on-7s. We had our other quarterbacks doing that and moving forward as if this scenario may play out," said Choate. "Chris was on board with that and understood that he put himself in this situation and now we have to move forward and do what's best for the team."
Of course the question now though - who will be the quarterback for MSU this fall?
"I don't know that there's a true pecking order right now. One of the things that's a little bit of a wild card here is Travis Jonsen because Travis is just now being cleared to kind of go full. From what I understand today is the first day that he took team reps in PRP and that he's fully released from his foot injury and ready to go."
Coach Choate did mention Tucker Rovig, Casey Bauman, and Ruben Beltran as potential starters as well. Another question is - how are fans responding?
"I'm sure it's a frustrating situation for a young man like that to have that sort of thing in his athletic career," said Cats fan Jim Bogen. "But in the long run, MSU's emphasis has always been on high academic standards and I'm sure everyone on the team understands and appreciates that as well as Chris Murray - so it sounds like a good decision."
Undoubtedly, big changes are coming to the Bobcats but Coach Choate still has high hopes for the season.
"I think we're going to have a good team and how that plays out you never know - but I know this - it's not going to be any different than last year. If you show up in Bobcat Stadium you'll get your money's worth and it's going to be a four-quarter fight, so it'll be fun."
This announcement comes just before the 2018 Big Sky Football Kickoff in Spokane later this week.