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George Ferguson Column: No doubt, Rolin has started a Light's football awakening

From the Fringe...


August 27, 2018

Colin Thompson

In his first game as head coach, Andrew Rolin led the Lights to a rousing 49-20 win Saturday at Blue Pony Stadium.

I’m going to keep this short. Because if I don’t keep it short on purpose, I’m going to end up writing one of the longest column’s I’ve ever written, and those of you who know me, know I’ve written some diatribes before.

And I really could right now, because that’s just how much fun, and how special Saturday was inside Blue Pony Stadium.

Now, before I get called too much of a homer, I already know what you are going to say. The Montana State University-Northern Light’s win over Mayville State Saturday was just that, one win. And some of you will also say, it was against a Mayville team suffering through a losing streak that stretches back to 2016.

That is all true, but, to those of you who say those things, I simply retort — I don’t care. Saturday’s win over the Comets was big, it was special, and it was important.

First of all, Mayville isn’t the only team in the NAIA that has suffered in recent years. No, our own Lights have, too. So to that end, what was just the program’s third win in its last 19 games, yeah, that’s kind of a big deal.

But, the win goes much further and deeper than what the Blue Pony Stadium scoreboard said. No, I saw so much more than the final score in Northern victory.

I saw a team that looked new and fresh, even with many players who have been in the program for three and four years now. I saw a team that was invigorated, excited and energized. I saw a team with a confidence and a swagger I haven’t see in this program in years. I saw a team that wants to be great, not good, but great.

I also saw an excitement in the stands, and in the parking tiers I haven’t seen at a Northern game in a long time. The fact that Saturday was probably the largest crowd to see a Northern game in years is evidence of that. But, it was how that crowd felt about the Lights that was different. You could feel the buzz, you could feel the passion from the stands, you could feel that Northern’s fan base already knew, before the ball was kicked off Saturday, that this Northern team is different.

And it’s different because of one man, Andrew Rolin. And as much as I’m so appreciative and proud of the way the Lights played Saturday, and you guys, the players, deserve all the credit for that, right now, I’m going to keep this column short and sweet with one thank-you.

Thank you, Andrew Rolin, for taking this job. Thank you for breathing a ton of new life into the Northern football program. With your discipline, your organization, your attitude, your passion and your football IQ, in one game, you’ve showed me just how bright a future the Lights have under your leadership.

Now, I know, you (Rolin), will be the first to add, it’s only one game. I know you’ll say, your team has a long way to go, and a lot of work to do. I know you believe this is a process, a building situation, and that your Lights have more hills to climb. I understand, and I get it. The rest of the season won’t always be like it was Saturday.

But you have talked about a culture change at Northern yourself, and I can assure you, after watching the Lights play Saturday, you’re already doing just that, and your own guys agree.

“He is changing the culture,” Jett Robertson said. “He’s changing everything about what we do and how we do it. It’s been an amazing process so far. Coach Rolin is the man, and we’re following him. He’s the man who gets us rollin’.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Jett.

No, Saturday was one of the best days I’ve had covering Northern football in a long time. And that’s not meant as disrespect to anyone who has been involved with the program in the recent past. I’ve always loved covering Northern football, no matter the scores, no matter the games, no matter the situation. It’s been one of my passions the last 12 years. But it’s just a fact. It’s a feeling I’ve had for months now, and it was a feeling I confirmed Saturday. These Northern Lights, they’re different. This is now a new era in Northern football, and eventually, what we saw Saturday won’t be different anymore, no with Rolin at the helm, games like Saturday’s against Mayville State will become the new normal at Northern.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m saying it again, the future for Northern football is so bright you gotta wear … well you know the rest.

So again, thank you, Coach Rolin. And to all the Northern fans, players, alumni, etcetera, I think it’s safe to say, a new era of Northern football is here, and the Lights are going to get brighter and brighter.


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