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Running backs coach leaves Montana State
Three months after being hired as Montana State’s running backs coach, Milo Austin has left for a non-coaching position at the University of Cincinnati.
Montana State head coach Rob Ash said Austin accepted a job as director of player development in early June with the Bearcats, members of the Football Bowl Subdivision and participants in the Bowl Championship Series.
Austin officially started with the Bobcats on Mar. 10.
“Yeah,” Ash said when asked if he was disappointed to see Austin leave after such a short tenure. “You can’t hold people to this, but it seems like a good rule of thumb to coach at least one season. A lot of times I’ll say to a guy that I’d really like to see him work two seasons in a position if he had the opportunity to be hired somewhere and come in.”
Ash also said there was little he could do to prevent Austin, who did not return phone calls, from leaving.
“In our position as head coaches, you can’t lock people in,” Ash said. “They’re free to move on just like we’re free to make changes (as head coaches).”
When it comes to changes, MSU running back C.J. Palmer is becoming an expert. Palmer has had three different running backs coaches since his true freshman season in 2008.
Prior to Austin, Palmer had been coached by Dale Ploessl, who is still on the Bobcats’ staff as a tight ends coach, in 2008 and Bryan Applewhite, who left for Louisiana-Monroe this spring, in 2009.
“You go through ups and downs,” Palmer said.
The upside, according to Palmer, is that “it can make you a better running back.”
“Certain coaches want it one way and others want it another,” he said. “I try to put all of it together.”
The downside is losing someone with whom you’ve built a relationship and the uncertainty that comes with trying to mesh with someone new.
“You get close to a coach,” Palmer said. “You come up with him and get to know him, and then he leaves real sudden. It’s like, ‘Man, now I got to go through all this again. Hopefully they bring in a coach that likes me and my style.’”
Aside from Palmer, the Bobcats have senior Blayde Becksted and redshirt freshman Cody Kirk returning. They’ll also have junior college transfer Orenzo Davis and true freshman Kerry Sloan and David Dash entering the fold.
“It’s disappoint we’re having to make a (coaching) change, in some respects, because of the dynamics we have at running back,” Ash said. “It’s a very complicated mix at that position.”
Ash said first-year offensive coordinator Brian Wright is presiding over the search that has seen “close to 100″ applicants. Ash said he hopes to have a coach hired “within the next week or two,” considering players are expected to report to fall camp on Aug. 8.
“We don’t typically put anything out about openings on our staff,” Ash said. “Normally word (of an opening) just leaks out or we call a few people. But we didn’t have the time to wait, so we let the word out that we were looking for a coach. That generated more than enough applications from all kinds of schools and levels; all types of backgrounds.
“It’s amazing to me how many people out there really want to coach our running backs at Montana State.”
Palmer hopes the new hire will have some of the same intangibles as the 27-year-old Austin.
“He made the offense fun,” Palmer said. “We joked around with him when we were off the field and in practice. When we broke a long run, he was running down the field with you and was the first one celebrating with you.”