BEMIDJI -- A passing rain shower ended just in time for the sun to emerge over Chet Anderson Stadium for the Bemidji State football team’s annual Green and White spring game Saturday afternoon. The White/offense prevailed 36-13 over the Green/defense, who actually wore black uniforms.
“It was really fun to come back out here and just go live with my guys,” said sophomore-to-be running back Jalen Frye. “We’ve been working all spring. We’ve been waiting for this moment, and to put it all together and just to see what we have as an entire group was great.”
The game used an altered scoring system that awarded points based on several drives, as well as a number of drills including two-minute drills, goal-line drills and short-yardage drills.
“I thought we played fairly clean and not a lot of injuries, so that’s good,” head coach Brent Bolte said. “Offense won the day. They had some big plays, and it was good to see. I think they’ve been a little bit behind up until the spring game so it was really good to see those guys come out.”
The game gave the program’s youngest members a chance to take the field before a sizable crowd. One area that will see significant turnover from last season is in the defensive backfield.
“We have a lot of new guys, especially in the secondary, so it was nice to get them some good reps,” said senior defensive back Michael Junker. “It was nice just to see what they can do, get the rotation going, see who works well with others.”
“If I’d have predicted where we were going to struggle it was the secondary because it’s a brand-new group back there,” Bolte said. “Our offense did some good things, too, running around. I thought our guys were just a little -- I don’t know if timid is the right word or they just weren’t as aggressive as they need to be. But there’s a lot of talent back there in that group so I’m not too worried about it.”
Sophomores Alec Ogden and Brandon Alt split time at quarterback. The majority of snaps went to Ogden with Alt still working his way back from a week 2 knee injury last season. Ogden made four starts in 2018 and saw a lot of playing time down the stretch.
“He got thrown into the fire last year, Ogden did, so to see him just take a deep breath and be able to manage the offense -- he probably feels a little bit more comfortable about stepping up and controlling guys who are four years older than him,” Bolte said. “I think he just has a better grasp of the offense, too. Alec is continuing to improve this spring. It was nice to have Brandon out there chucking the ball around in some of those non-contact situations that we were doing. I’m really happy with both guys. They progressed well this spring.”
Alt, who started the first two games of 2018, is recovering nicely from his injury, Bolte said.
“I’d say beginning of June he’ll be cleared and ready to go,” Bolte said. “He’s been doing all of our offseason conditioning stuff so it’s just a matter of pulling the trigger and letting him do some live stuff.”
Junker and junior linebacker Gabe Ames were named defensive captains for the 2019 season, while senior offensive lineman Joe Woods and senior tight end/fullback Matt Gross will captain the offense.
The Beavers ended 2018 at 7-4 overall, finishing third in the NSIC North Division. They hope their offseason work pays off with the program’s first division title since 2015.
“”We still have a lot to work for,” Junker said. “We still have a long way to go. You’ve got to work for the championship and that doesn’t stop. So every day we come into the weight room or come onto the field, we’ve got to give it our all like we’re playing for the championship game right there. Championships are made in the offseason.”
Bemidji State opens the 2019 season Sept. 5 at Northern State.