Nov. 16, 2019, was the last time the Beavers played at Herb Parker Stadium. Two weeks into fall camp Head Coach Mike Aldrich said his boys are ready to play.
“It’s been good, probably close to the most energy we’ve had for a fall camp but I think part of it is obvious excitement for the season but secondly we didn’t play last year so I think there is that added excitement of getting back on the field and doing something we haven’t done in a while,” Aldrich said.
Week one, the Beavers will hit the road to play Augustana University.
Both players and coaches said after having an extended off-season this year, it’s harder to game plan for opponents when you don’t who is and isn’t coming back so they need to focus on themselves.
“We’re both kind of in the same boat,” Ben Bolinske, Senior Quarterback, said. “We don’t know what they are going to run they don’t necessarily know what we’re going to run so there are going to have to be a lot of adjustments at halftime or mid-game. Right now we’re just working through the wrinkles on offense and working the wrinkles on defense.”
“There’s not much to go off of without seeing teams playing for two years,” Jordan Will, Senior Defensive Lineman said. “You can assume they’re going to do some of the similar things but we just want to worry about what we do, executing well, playing with excellent effort.”
Fall camp is all about learning about your players and the kind of player they can be. With camp underway Coach Aldrich said several of the new guys have caught his attention early.
“We’ve still got to test it. Get through another three-four days and see if we’re ready to yank the red shirt off of them and play ’em,” Aldrich said. “I don’t want to go too far on that cause I’d hate to say something and then we go a different direction, but needless to say I would say there’s five or six true freshmen that are on the bubble to play for us right away.”
After the 2019 season, Aldrich said the biggest improvement needed was on the defensive side of the ball.
“In 2019, we were terrible on defense and I was the defensive coordinator so I fired myself and we were able to hire Mike Scheper to come in,” Aldrich said. “He brings a lot of CFL experience and to be able to use that full year of getting to know his personality and our guys buying into him as opposed to some of my personality traits I think that’s been really good.”
The coaching change has given Aldrich a chance to approach the game in a new way.
“It’s been good for me because I can step back from a lot of the administrative things that you’ve got to do as a defensive coordinator and focus more on the overall scheme of the team and I think that’s been a big thing for me that’s been really good,” Aldrich said.
After finishing the 2019 season with a 3-8 record, Bolinske said this year the Beavers are focusing on one game at a time.
“I hope we can win a few games this year and give the fans what they want a winning season but our guys we’re just looking at week one Augustana, hopefully, we can go 1-0 and then we will worry about week two,” Bolinske said.
And for seniors Bolinske and Will, they are grateful to get another chance to play for the Beavers after last year’s season was canceled.
“I’ve really enjoyed being a student-athlete here at Minot State and being able to have this 5th year with a lot of guys that came in the same year as me, we’ve been through a lot together and I’ve really been enjoying this last fall camp with those guys,” Will said.
“I got one year left as a QB hopefully, you know I’ve played receiver, I’ve held, I’ve tried punting I’ve tried kicking so anywhere that I can fit into a role I’ll happily do it just as long as I get out on the field,” Bolinske said.
Week one for the Beavers is Saturday, Sept. 4 when they travel to Augustana University.