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Lights begin week two of spring ball

 

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Jett Robertson runs with the ball during the Light's spring practice Monday afternoon. Northern started the second week of spring ball Monday, a week in which the Lights will practice four times, including their first scrimmage of the spring on Friday afternoon. For more on the Lights, see Wednesday's Havre Daily News.

Andrew Rolin is trying to build a winning culture within the Montana State University-Northern football team and doing that isn't always easy.

Some days aren't as great as others and Monday night, in the fifth practice of the spring, the head coach said that the Lights took a step back, even though there were some bright spots.

"We took a step back," Rolin said. "From the moment we stepped out here, we weren't ready to play. So it took us a little bit to get going. We had a little bit of a Monday lull and I am upset about that because we talk about continuous improvement and continuous effort all the time and we were stagnant (Monday). We were stagnant in our execution and, really, just how we played needs to be better."

While Rolin wasn't happy with the effort overall, there were some highlights such as the defense making some key plays. Defensive back Jeff Tinae was one guy who stepped up to the plate, notching an interception in 7-on-7. The defensive line was also able to generate pressure on quarterback Brenden Medina throughout the team periods.

"I thought that our defense did some really good things," Rolin said. "We had some guys step up and make plays and that's why we are out here competing. The defense is making big strides and challenging the offense and I am excited about that."

Throughout the first week or so of spring practice, the defense has played well and the defensive line has been a huge part of that.

"Defensively, I think it starts up front," Rolin said. "Joe Fehr has had a nice camp so far. He has stepped up. Trendae Umi-Tuato'o has also really stepped up. He has just come in and really taken over that role. He's been impressive. In the defensive backfield, Jeff Tinae has really stepped up and Jaren Maki is also playing well. We just have so much more depth than we had last year and that competitiveness is really helping us."

The defense stood out but on a windy day, that's not unexpected. However, Medina also made some nice throws, even going into the breeze. During the final team period, Medina threw a strike down the middle of the field to Marvin Williams on a play that picked up close to 30 yards. Medina fit the ball between a slew of defenders and was right in stride, allowing Williams to pick up yards after the catch.

"That was a really nice throw," Rolin said of the completion to Williams. "We have that mindset at that position that we have to be able to execute."

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Brendan Medina throws a pass during Monday's spring practice.

Medina is the only quarterback left in camp after Steele Ware left the program and the redshirt freshman is continuing to grow into the role.

"The thing about it is that nothing gets to that kid (Medina)," Rolin said. "He has a level of composure about him and that's part of the reason we recruited him. It was more than just his arm talent. He has a good personality. Now, we will continue to put him in tougher and tougher situations, game-like situations, but there is no doubt he has the arm talent. Still, it's the toughest position to play in sports and you have to be a special person, and I hope he is that guy. I think he is."

The Lights, who practiced for around two hours Monday night on the campus of MSU-Northern, will be back on the practice field tonight, as well as Thursday and Friday. The spring game is set for April 20.

 

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