HAVRE – Electric energy — that’s what could be seen at the MSU-Northern spring football game. The vibe just felt different, as players were hooting and hollering all day. The new hype for this team appears to be unmatched compared to previous years, a tone set by new head coach Andrew Rolin and his staff. It’s especially hit home with redshirt senior wide receiver Sam Mix, who’s seen plenty of change himself with the Lights the last few years. Buthis year just feels different.
“Yeah, this is my third coaching change here. I can’t tell you how excited I am for coach Rolin and everyone he’s brought in,” said Mix. “The energy today, you could just see it. This is the most fans — we haven’t seen this many fans at a home game, let alone a spring game, so the energy is where it needs to be. We’ve been working the hardest we ever have, and we’re heading in the right direction.”
Mix has stuck it out through all the bad times with Northern football the last four years, also coming back from a stabbing incident in which he almost died back in 2015. This year, being one of the few redshirt seniors on the team, he’s one of the Lights’ leaders. He’s ready to take guys under his wing and be a big part of the movement upward for the program this season.
“Just being a leader for these guys. Being a fifth year senior is a big deal and I take a lot of honor in that,” said Mix. “I want to be part of the first winning record that we’ve had since I’ve been here. That would mean the world to me. To show the younger guys how it’s done and to show the guys in my class as well, that’d be huge.”
“I think that’s something where I don’t know if I’ve talked about enough. To see these guys continue to grow,” said Rolin. “You see certain guys and even underclassmen emerge as leaders and see them hold guys accountable, that’s whats fun. In order to be a leader you have to hold yourself accountable first and then hold others accountable. I’ve seen some of those guys emerge. It’s been fun to see certain individuals, especially ones that I didn’t expect to show up as leaders. It’s been a lot of fun.”
With spring ball now done, offseason workouts now go into full effect. Time to build yourself to become stronger, faster and more agile to be in the best position you can be before fall camp begins. For Sam and the rest of the team, this is just the beginning on the climb to put MSU Northern back on the map.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg right now. We’re trying to get most people to stay for summer. Those who are, the coaches are going to push them,” said Mix. “Those who will be going home will be working as hard as ever. That’s where the real work starts. Running, conditioning, lifting and we’re going to get to where we need to be.”
“I love spring football, I love it. I can’t wait till fall camp, it’s going to drive me crazy,” said Rolin. “Summer is great for getting bigger, stronger, faster. But I’ll tell you what, I can not wait until August. I really can’t.”