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Lights aim to put the finishing touches on spring ball

Northern set to hold annual spring football game Saturday

 

April 19, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

The Montana State University-Northern football team has been hard at work the last month with spring practices. Saturday, the Lights will hold their annual spring game, starting at 1 p.m. at the Northern practice field. The game marks the end of head coach Andrew Rolin's second spring at the helm of the program.

After weeks of practicing and even one controlled scrimmage, the Montana State University-Northern football team will be playing live football Saturday when the Lights take part in their annual spring game at the practice field on the MSU-N campus.

It will be the second spring game for head coach Andrew Rolin and essentially, the team will take part in another controlled scrimmage featuring the offense against defense with the action getting underway at 1 p.m.

Players won't be divided into teams and a traditional score won't be kept like in some spring football games. Instead, the coaches will rotate players on both sides of the ball as they run through different scenarios such as starting with the ball at the offense's own 20 or in the red zone.

However, in order to make the spring game more competitive between the offense and the defense, Rolin has developed a scoring system, which assigns points to each side of the ball for certain things. For the offense, it's pretty traditional as the Lights will get six points for a touchdown, three points for a field goal and one point for a PAT.

The scoring for the defense had to be a little more imaginative and so a defensive touchdown means 12 points, a fumble recovery is seven, an interception is five, a three-and-out is two and getting a stop - holding the offense without any points - is worth one point.

"We are going to keep a score," Rolin said. "We developed a scoring key to try and make things a little more competitive this year."

Certainly, everyone, including the coaches, will have their eyes on quarterback Brenden Medina, who will be taking all of the reps at quarterback as he prepares to be the presumptive starter this fall. While there will obviously be competition with whoever joins the team, a strong spring can help Medina and players at other positions get a leg up on the competition.

"It definitely helps and we want to see who makes plays when it counts," Rolin said. "Obviously, we have fall camp and there is a long way to go, but you can put yourself in a good position heading into the fall and the spring is really about trying to determine who are going to be the core guys that will contribute for this team."

Whether or not Medina starts in the fall is a different question for a different day, but in a scrimmage that will be completely live outside of hits on the quarterback, the young signal caller will be tested more than he has all spring.

"I want to see him continue to keep composure through good times and bad times, I think that's an important part of the position," Rolin said. "Naturally, he has that ability and I just want to see him execute and take care of the football. I think the big plays will come if he plays within the system, I just want to see him be accurate with the football and be able to lead the offense."

Rolin also said a big emphasis for the defense was better tackling and preventing big plays, which are two areas where he feels the Lights have shown improvement during the spring.

"I think we have made some huge strides in those areas," Rolin said. "And that was a big focus for us coming into the spring. We just want to see everyone continually getting better. We are grading all of them, offense, defense and special teams, and we want to see who is going to step up. That's what spring football is all about."

Rolin said the Lights would scrimmage around 90 minutes to two hours. He said each unit would be guaranteed a certain number of snaps and that the coaches would set up the offense in a number of different situations. The spring game will get underway at approximately 1 p.m at Northern.

 

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