HELENA — The Carroll College football team conducted its first outdoor practice of spring drills under the lights at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday at Nelson Stadium, and coach Troy Purcell said his players were eager for the workout.
"They want to be here, they want to get better, they want to improve, they’re hungry for it, Which is exciting for a coach," Purcell said.
Carroll is coming off a 2022 season where they won a share of the Frontier Conference title and the league's bid to the NAIA postseason. Wide receiver Chris Akulschin said, "I just want to win the conference again and make it far into the playoffs, I think we have the team to do it."
Weather is as factor in these spring practices, from cold temps to the frozen field. However, “We have a thing: Our rule is no (arm) sleeves, it’s not too bad," said offensive lineman Andrew Carter. "Being a bigger guy I’ve always kind of liked the cold. I don’t mind it too much. It’s Just something we have to fight through everyday and don’t let it affect you or how you play."
Carroll's 10-game schedule in 2023 features eight games in a new-look Frontier Conference, as well as two nonconference clashes. The Saints open the season on Aug. 31 against rival Montana Tech, though it will be a non-league affair.
“We always have some motto coming in and we want to be able to start fast," Purcell said. "We've got to be able to start fast — this conference is so hard as it is."
Carroll will play its annual spring game on Saturday, April 22 at 11 a.m. The game, which will be held at Nelson Stadium, is free and open to the public.