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George Ferguson Column: Come see Northern's new gunslinger for yourself

Hi-Line Athlete Profile: Brendan Medina, MSU-N Football

 

September 12, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern quarterback Brendan Medina throws a pass during the 2019 MSU-N Spring Game back in April. Medina took hold of the Northern starting job last spring and never let go, and now, he's already proving, despite his youth and inexperience, he can play at the college level. The Lights make their home debut Saturday at 1 p.m. against Montana Western.

If you haven’t seen the Montana State University-Northern football team yet, now’s your chance. On Saturday, if you come to Blue Pony Stadium, you'll get to see the Lights with your own eyes.

And you should come and see this Northern team for yourself. In fact, all of you Northern and Havre football fans, you should make it your mission to pack Blue Pony Stadium Saturday afternoon because this Lights team, well, show up, and you’ll see for yourself.

If you do come, one of the many things you’ll see Saturday when the Lights host nationally ranked Montana Western, is the fact that Northern has something very special at the quarterback position.

Northern has a true gunslinger.

Now, don’t misread what I’m saying. It’s very, very early in red-shirt freshman Brendan Medina’s career. And when I say early, I mean two games early. So, I’m not going to sit here and anoint him the second coming of Tom Brady or Trevor Lawrence, and I’m not going to put a bunch of media hype on the kid — not intentionally anyway.

But what I will do is tell all of you why you should come watch this kid play, and what he is going to do for the Lights this season, and beyond.

First, if you just simply like to watch a quarterback spin it, then you'll love watching Medina. The kid can throw the rock. And two games is enough to see that.

Medina, who backed up Tommy Wilson, but still maintained his redshirt for the 2018 season, is, by all accounts, what college coaches are looking for in a quarterback.

He’s got legitimate arm talent, he’s got size and strength and, in this age of spread option, RPO’s and complicated, explosive offenses, he can move the pocket, he can make things happen with his feet and he’s got enough speed to keep defenses guessing.

Yes, from a physical attribute standpoint, Medina checks a lot of boxes.

Mentally, Medina is there, too.

He’s smart, he understands football and he understands the Northern offense, according to head coach Andrew Rolin, who just happens to know a thing or two about quarterbacks.

“He’s got everything I want in a quarterback,” Rolin said before the season started. “He’s got the physical characteristics I look for, he’s intelligent and he’s a leader. He understands what it takes to play the position at this level.”

Again, it’s early, but, Medina certainly has already shown he has what it takes to be a very good, if not great, quarterback in the Frontier Conference.

The only box he really can’t check right now is the one he doesn’t have any control over — experience. No, that box will get checked in time, and Medina has plenty of that, too.

Being just a red-shirt freshman, and having taken control of Northern’s starting QB position, pretty much from the day Wilson graduated, Medina has a ton of time to gain experience. And that time also means he has time to grow, to get better, to mature, to hone his craft even more. That’s the upside to starting as a talented, but inexperienced freshman.

In other words, Medina hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface of reaching his ceiling. No, his ceiling is still a long way off, and that’s exciting when you think of it in terms of the future of Northern’s football program because, let’s face it, quarterback is, and always will be, the most important position on the field, and that’s never, ever going to change.

Northern has its quarterback of the future and in the now, too.

Again, I’m not here to over hype a kid who’s played a sum total of eight quarters of college football. But the facts are there. Medina has already thrown for 510 yards and five scores, against two top-notch NAIA programs. On the flip side, he’s also thrown five interceptions, and that’s where the youth and lack of experience comes to play.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern quarterback Brendan Medina throws a pass during the 2019 MSU-N Spring Game back in April. Medina took hold of the Northern starting job last spring and never let go, and now, he's already proving, despite his youth and inexperience, he can play at the college level. The Lights make their home debut Saturday at 1 p.m. against Montana Western.

In other words, freshman quarterbacks are going to make freshman mistakes at this level sometimes. It’s going to happen.

However, in Medina’s case, the talent and the upside certainly are going to outweigh the growing pains that come with such a young player playing the most important position, in a conference known as the SEC of the NAIA. In other words, there will be tough times, and rough games ahead.

“He needs experience,” Rolin said of his young QB. “But I’ll say this, Brendan came here to be the starting quarterback for the Northern Lights. That was his goal from day one. He’s a very poised, very mature football player. So, going forward, I know he’s going to do whatever it takes to get better and better.”

Time is on Medina’s side, and regardless of how this Saturday against the Bulldogs plays out, or even how this season ends up playing out, two games in, it’s obvious Northern has something special in Brendan Medina.

And Medina is one of the many reasons why Blue Pony Stadium should be packed for Northern’s home opener Saturday.

 

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