Still plenty to do in the summer for Northern football

Lights add two new quarterbacks to 2019 roster

 

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern head football coach Andrew Rolin watches the action on the first day of Lights' Football Camp Monday at the MSU-Northern practice fields. Rolin is entering his second summer as MSU-N's head man, and while the Lights don't play for a couple of months, there's still plenty to do.

When it comes to being the head coach of a college football program, even in the NAIA, there is very little downtime. There is always some task ahead, and Montana State University-Northern's Andrew Rolin knows that as well as anyone.

Rolin is getting set to enter his second season as head coach of the Lights, who will kick off their 2019 campaign Aug. 31 at Arizona Christian University.

If you didn't know, that's less than 100 days away, which means there is a lot of work to be done, but in a period that is mostly quiet for recruiting, it's sort of like the quiet before the storm. That's why it's a perfect time for Rolin to help administer a pair of football camps, one for K-5 and another for grades 6-8. Both are taking place this week at the MSU-N practice field Monday through Thursday.

Yet, even when things are relatively quiet for a college football coach, there is still plenty to do. One thing Rolin has been working on since the end of spring football has been adding to the quarterback position. During spring ball, redshirt freshman Brenden Medina was the only signal caller. However, that won't be the case during the fall as Rolin has signed a pair of quarterbacks for the 2019 class in Tre Long and Oakley Kopp.


Kopp is a 6-foot-2 quarterback from West Jordan, Utah. He threw for 1,590 yards last season as well as 21 touchdown passes. Long is from Lake City, Washington, and is listed by 247 sports as a two-star recruit, as well as the No. 81 dual-threat quarterback nationally. He is also ranked 102nd in the state of Washington for 2019.

"They are both very talented kids and both winners," Rolin said. "Tre Long took his team to the state championship game in the state of Washington, so these guys are used to winning. They are good leaders and they are good players, too. We are excited about getting those guys and having them here to compete."

Rolin said that both players would join the team this fall and compete with Medina at quarterback. He also said that while he and his staff are continuing to recruit, most of the work on the roster for the 2019 season is complete.

"We are still looking at a couple of spots, looking to maybe add some depth," Rolin said. "But we have signed a total of 45 kids up to this point. So it has been a huge class full of some talented players. We have a couple of junior college transfers but mostly high school kids that we want to develop. There are a couple of positions where if it was the right fit and if there was the right guy out there, we will try to sign a couple kids but we are pretty much set for August."


After signing around 80 players the past two seasons, the Lights are in a good spot number wise and with around 70 kids expected for two camps this week, there is some solid momentum building around MSU-N football right now.

"Roster size we are up in the 80s," Rolin said. "That is a good number. Ideally, I would like to have 90-95. I am not the kind of guy that wants to see 140 guys on a roster. I don't see the point in that. That's just my opinion. We want to be able to coach each kid and let them know they are an important part of the program."

Rolin will be looking to add to his staff at some point in the coming months as well, as assistant Jonathan Amosa moved on to take a position with Montana State. Rolin said he wasn't in a rush to fill the job but that he would by fall camp. For now, though, he was pleased with his staff and how they have bought into recruiting, building some solid ties over the past two years.

"We are building across the state and it helps to have the same faces going back," Rolin said. "We have to build the right way and that has been my philosophy my entire time here at Northern. We are looking for the right kind of kid, and we want to develop them from their freshman year on. I think we have done that and we are a year older from last year and I am excited to see how some of these kids have already developed. I think it will show on the field."

That chance will come this August when the Lights open fall camp and for fans, it will come Aug. 31 with the road test against Arizona Christian. The first home game for MSU-N football will be Sept. 14 against Montana Western.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Braxton Huse runs through a drill during Monday's Lights' Football Camp in Havre. For more on the camp, see Wednesday's Havre Daily News sports section.

 

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