Scrimmage wraps up spring ball for the Lights
Last updated 4/25/2023 at 7:22am
On Saturday at Tilleman Field, the Montana State University-Northern football team held a live-ball scrimmage to wrap up its spring ball session of practices. In front of fans, the Lights held 11-on-11 drills where the offense went against the defense. While there were some hiccups during the scrimmage, MSU-N head coach Jerome Souers believes the Lights demonstrated they are heading in the right direction.
"I was pleased with the efforts and the attitude. They're learning how to prepare and how to play a little bit more consistently," Souers said.
In between the scrimmage plays, the Lights held several drills to further work on their conditioning. The Lights also demonstrated their leverage drills in front of the fans and then practiced their punts on special teams.
But the majority of the afternoon was spent on live-ball scrimmage plays. On offense, Dante Mauiri and Oakley Kopp split time at quarterback. In the first set of drives, both quarterbacks completed short passes to help the offense chug along. The Lights also ran several running plays for their running backs.
After a set of drills, the Lights ran more scrimmage plays. The quarterbacks got the chance to throw and complete more passes. However, this also gave the defense more opportunities to make plays itself. On a pair of occasions, the MSU-N defensive backs dropped an interception. Later in the scrimmage, a defensive back was able to intercept a pass that was thrown deep down the sideline.
The MSU-N defense returns many players from last year such as Dylan Wampler and Colter Szymoniak. The offense meanwhile has many younger players, so they are still learning the plays, which showed at times at the scrimmage.
"When you look at our individual drills, we're learning how to strike, we're learning how to block but it's translating all those individual techniques into an 11-on-11 setting with all the different variables a defense can bring," Souers said about the offense. "When you only have this much time to prepare, one side is going to be a little bit further ahead than the other."
The scrimmage comes after several weeks of practice for the Lights. About three times a week, the Lights would work on their conditioning and fundamentals at Tilleman Field. After a while, they began to put their practice into action with seven-on-seven and then 11-on-11 drills.
When Souers took over the program in early 2022, the Lights did not have the numbers on their roster to carry out a spring practice. Along with actually getting to practice this spring, Souers believes the experience the Lights have gained over the past few weeks should prove beneficial.
"We didn't bring in a lot of football IQ for the age of our team so I think we improved our football intelligence," Souers said. "Their understanding of how to play their role with the other 10 guys on the field is the biggest growth that we saw in the offseason and that carried over into spring."
The Lights will hold a few player-run practices before taking a break. With the fall 2023 season still months away, the Lights have plenty of work to do. As the returning players get reacclimated as the season approaches, the biggest focus for the Lights moving forward will be getting their younger players adjusted to collegiate football.
"We're a transformational program. We're big on development," Souers said. "Once we get all these other guys that are on our developmental curve caught up, that's when you're going to see the whole team elevate."