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Bemidji State adds spring scrimmage with UMD, Green & White game still on

Feb. 16—BEMIDJI — The Bemidji State football team is switching things up in 2024.

The Beavers have added a spring scrimmage to their calendar for the first time ever. They will travel to face Minnesota Duluth at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, enabling the two teams — which don't face each other this season — to earn quality reps against one another and compete in joint practices and scrimmage action at Malosky Stadium in Duluth.

"This is the first year that it's actually legal by the NCAA to allow it to happen," said BSU head coach Brent Bolte. "I'm all for it. Spring practices get pretty drawn out. You get 36 days to get 15 practices in, so it's a long time. It's a drawn-out process. So giving (our players) a little bit of a true taste (of competition), we'll change up how we really progress through our spring ball."

Bemidji State will still host the traditional Green and White Spring Game on Saturday, April 6, giving BSU fans a chance at an up-close look as the Beavers begin a new era.

"We basically always have two scrimmages throughout the spring," Bolte said. "The last one (typically) is more of the spring game, but we'll still do one (this year). It'll be modified, but it'll still be geared for parents coming up if they want to come to that one, or they can go to Duluth too."

Competing against the Bulldogs will enable the Beavers to evaluate their younger players in a setting similar to game action. Having two teams present for drills will also provide opportunities for BSU to partake in numerous different skill sessions throughout the afternoon.

"It's going be more of a joint practice/scrimmage," Bolte said. "The first half of the practice will be more controlled scenarios. We'll do (special) teams, we'll do (skeleton) pass, we'll do inside run stuff that will have very controlled tempos and get work in that way. One-on-one releases, stuff like that.

"And then the back half will be more of a traditional scrimmage type of scenario where we'll have X amount of plays for each offense, each defense to get looks, and then end it with an overtime session is what we talked about. We haven't really 100% set the actual layout of the event yet, but that's what we initially talked about. Make it more of a joint practice, let our younger guys in the scrimmage at the end."

While facing off against one of the better teams in the NSIC, Bemidji State's quarterbacks will have the opportunity to make an opening statement and showcase their talents in the Beavers' open competition. With Brandon Alt newly departed, the floor is theirs to put forth a strong first impression.

"It's going to be nice, and it'll be fun for kids to stack up and not have an Alt out there, let the other quarterbacks get a chance," Bolte said. "Maybe it'll be a little eye opener for us to see who can do what. That's the fun part. Let these kids go compete, especially the redshirt kids that have been sitting on very limited opportunities to play. ... It's really a good rule by the NCAA to allow us to do that, to let these guys go have some competition instead of it all being jammed into 11 weeks during the fall."