HAVRE — It’s a new era for the MSU-Northern Lights football program.
With an entirely new coaching staff and roster top to bottom, training camp is underway in Havre as the fresh team has much to catch up on before their first game Aug. 27 against the College of Idaho .
The roster size doubled at the start of camp last week with half the team comprised of freshly signed first-year college athletes after head coach Jerome Souers hit the recruiting trail hard soon after being hired in January.
“We have a lot more new guys that have added into the mix and that can create a new equation,” Souers said. “Right now, with all the teaching that's going on and all the learning that's going on, there's going to be some mistakes. We've got to be patient.”
What helps the process along is the vast collegiate and even professional coaching experience that Souers and his staff bring to the table to help bring everyone up to speed more efficiently.
Associate head football coach/defensive coordinator, Joe O’Brien, joins the roster after years away from the game but with years of previous experience as an assistant coach at the Division I level. Other well-versed coaching staff members include former NFL running back Steve Broussard with Division I coaching stints in the Big Sky Conference and Pac-12. Also in the mix is offensive line coach Tim Davis who has over 30 years of coaching experience at the collegiate and NFL levels. Davis coached in 16 FBS bowl games, including three Rose Bowls, two Orange Bowls and one Sugar Bowl.
Put it all together and you have a staff that’s most equipped to ready a fresh set of faces into college football.
“It’s all working out for us,” senior free safety Hunter Riley said. “We're building one step at a time.”
Those experienced coaches also have enough returners, albeit not many, to assist with the transition and help along the new wave of kids adjusting to playing college football in the Frontier Conference.
“We're learning how everybody works and it kind of just helps that we have experience from this already,” Riley explained.
With only five wins since 2016, the expectations from the outside are low, but the excitement for their first game in the 2022 season is still very much there for those inside the huddle.
“Everybody is just chills every time we talk about our first game and we’re counting down the days,” Riley said.
Although there is excitement, the work is ramping up each day in camp, adding to the building blocks.
“I think everybody’s excited,” Souers admitted. “At the same time we know that we need to make use of everyday.”