The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

April 27, 2014

Defense catches up with offense at MSU's spring game

QBs struggle, but Brozovich throws late TD

MANKATO — All spring long, new Minnesota State defensive coordinator Jake Dickert has waited to see the progression of his players, taking in some new schemes and techniques in the transition former coordinator Joe Klanderman.

On Saturday, at the annual spring football game at Blakeslee Stadium, he saw the defense regain some swagger, stopping 14 of 16 drives against the Mavericks’ offense.

“From the first scrimmage to the second scrimmage to today, you can see the improvement,” Dickert said. “The offense knocked us around a little bit early (in spring practice). We kind of got bogged down a little in the middle with some new things, but we were better today.”

The strangest spring-practice period in program history ended Saturday with an offense-defense scrimmage at Blakeslee Stadium. The month-long practice was marked by a coaching change as Todd Hoffner regained his job as head coach less than two weeks ago.

Hoffner spent time with both units Saturday, observing as he’s done for the last 10 days and interjected as he felt necessary. He liked what he saw, and he also expects to see improvement by the time the team practices again in August.

“I think each unit did some great things today,” he said. “Nobody had a serious injury, which is something you worry about with all the live hitting. I think we took a step forward today, and we can utilize this film and help these players get better.”

Much of the attention next fall will be on the quarterback, where the Mavericks are trying to replace Jon Wolf. Junior Mitch Brozovich has the most experience, and he started the first series Saturday, but sophomore Nick Pieruccini also was given a long look.

“I think all of the quarterbacks did some good things today,” Hoffner said. “Now we’ll see who develops this summer and continues to get better.”

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