HELENA — After inclement weather pushed back the start date, college football officially returned to the Helena. Friday night’s practice sparked the beginning of a new era; for the first time in nearly two decades Mike Van Diest was not the man running practice.
Instead, it was former Fighting Saints running back Troy Purcell at the helm, and following his first spring practice as the Saints head coach Purcell said, “It was a good day.”
“Good to finally get out here, get the bugs off and put the pads on. It’s not snowing right now, so it’s a beautiful day,” said Purcell with a smile. “Just proud of our kids and coaches, everybody is learning off each other now about what expectations are. It was a good first day to start.”
Many players were excited to get their first taste of football action for the first time since Nov. 10 of last year, when the Saints fell to the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers, 8-7. For senior running back Major Ali, spring football couldn’t come soon enough.
“Feels good. Feels good to be out here. Wish we could have been out here a couple of weeks ago, but it’s nice to finally get out here. The weather is not great, but it’s good to be out here with the guys and bang the pads a little bit,” said Ali with a smile.
The Saints will pick back up where they left off on Mar. 30, when they kick off their second spring practice.