Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all NSIC athletic events and competitions were canceled for remainder of the spring semester. This cancelation came just days before MSU football was set to kick of their spring practices.
In an effort to stay sharp and prepare for the upcoming season during this unprecedented time, Beaver football set up virtual spring ball. At the start of each week during quarantine, players are sent a set of play calls that will be installed for that week. Twice a week MSU football players meet virtually over Microsoft Teams meetings to discuss the install plays with their coaches to make sure they are understanding what is being installed. Normally, players’ knowledge of what they are taught during spring ball is evaluated based on their performance on the practice field. But during virtual spring ball, to wrap each week up, the players are quizzed on their knowledge of what they learned that week.
Head football coach Mike Aldrich weighed in on the situation of Beaver football.
“What we would like to accomplish during our "virtual" spring football season is to continue to grow the knowledge base off our schemes while still being able to connect with our team as a whole. We cannot practice the schemes physically, so we have to practice and master the schemes mentally. We are also laying the foundation for the fall, especially where we have made some minor changes from the previous season. Along with giving more time to our youngest student-athletes as they are learning our schemes, “Aldrich explained.
This is clearly not how the Beavers wanted to spend their spring season. There are, however, some unexpected benefits to this unprecedented situation.
“The biggest benefit is putting our adaptability to work. You must adapt and overcome to succeed in any challenge. That is the foundation of who we are, of our grit. This situation is truly putting that to the test. We are able to see thru actions which team members truly love football; preparation, process, and outcome,” Aldrich said.
Spring football is an opportunity for all players, young and old, to perfect their craft and better prepare for the upcoming season. With these current changes to spring ball, the goal for virtual spring practices changed. New defensive coordinator of Beaver football Mike Scheper laid out his goals during this time:
“To deconstruct and pour a concrete foundation of the defense as teachers first, thereby allowing the players to learn the system at a higher level of understanding,” Scheper explained.
Spring ball and the spring semester are more than just perfecting the team’s skills on the football field. This offseason period is also essential in making strides in the weight room. Due to gym closures nationwide, head strength and conditioning coach Caleb Heilman has created an at home body weight workout program for the team to do if they don’t have access to a weight room. Several Beavers that live in the North Dakota area lead by starting Quarterback Ben Bolinske came together to create their own at home weight room.
“We talked to the guys on the team and we were able to conjure up enough equipment to make a gym. We feel extremely fortunate because there’s a lot of guys that aren’t able to lift during this tough time,” Bolinkse said.