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Lights set to scrimmage today


Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Ian Sparrow, left, and Trenton Woodward battle during a spring practice earlier this week. The Lights will hold their first scrimmage of spring ball today at 3:30 p.m. at the Northern practice field.

Spring football is all about development and in their second week of practices, the Montana State University-Northern Lights continue to make strides.

While it’s hard to measure progress in the spring because there is no scoreboard, head coach Andrew Rolin believes in competition and part of that includes situational drills that pit the offense versus the defense.

“I just think it’s important that you rep situational football,” Rolin said. “You have stuff on the line. You have to put these kids in a competitive situation where stuff is on the line because that’s what it’s like every Saturday. So we apply pressure on them and they have to perform. It’s also a gauge to see where we are and who’s good at what. I really am a firm believer that the only way to find out is to compete.”

Thursday, the situational drill was third downs and Rolin gave the offense 12 different opportunities to convert third downs from varying distances against the defense and in this instance, the defense was the big winner, getting 10 stops and allowing just a pair of third-down conversions by the offense.

“I was really happy with the way the defense came out (Thursday),” Rolin said. “The guys were flying around and they were ready to go. They were out there making plays and on the other side, offensively, we weren’t ready.”

The offense was struggling to make some plays but in a 7-on-7 period that started to change. Quarterback Brenden Medina completed a number of throws underneath but also hit Jake Horner on a corner post, as well as Bryce Bumgardner on a go route that ended up being a touchdown. It wasn’t the last big play Bumgardner would make.

In the final team period, Bumgardner and Medina connected again, this time on a nice gain in the seam for a pickup of 20 yards. Then, with just a few plays left in practice, Medina hit Bumgardner streaking down the sideline for a 50-yard touchdown as the senior built on what has already been a productive spring.

“When things go bad we have to be able to recover,” Rolin said. “We talk about persistence all the time. Offensively, we started slow but we were able to finish pretty fast. Bryce made some nice plays there at the end and I thought Brenden made some nice throws. You have to be able to recover when those things go bad, so I was happy to see us do that.”

Another positive that came out of practice Thursday was the fact that Jett Robertson was able to take some snaps from scrimmage instead of just doing individual workouts. The starting running back has been hampered by an injury but is now getting closer to 100 percent.

“It was nice to have Jett back,” Rolin said. “He has been working through some stuff and it was good to get him out there and really, overall, I am very happy with the depth we have there at the running back position.”

The backs and the entire Northern football team will be tested Friday when the Lights will take the field for a short scrimmage, their first live scrimmage of the spring. Rolin said the team would hit the field around 3 p.m. and start the action at 3:30 p.m. He said the scrimmage would go for about an hour.

“We want to come out and compete,” Rolin said. “We are going to live and give these guys a chance to show what they can do. But it’s going to be quick.”

The spring game is set for April 20.


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