Michigan Tech Football wraps up spring practice with 2024 Spring Game

HOUGHTON, Mich. (WJMN) – The Michigan Tech football team hosted their annual Spring Game on Saturday at Kearly Stadium in Houghton. The first taste of action for the year in front of a public crowd was the end cap on a productive spring schedule for second year head coach Dan Mettlach.

“Everybody’s healthy. Got a couple of bumps and bruises, but for the most part, we got some good work in,” said Mettlach. “It was a physical spring, which was good. Our energy and the way the guys went about it, whether we were in live drills or not, we actually got some good football work in. So, we’re happy with that, we’re going into summer in a good spot. We had a great day again today, the turnout was awesome. A lot of parents up, people from local communities. Anytime the guys can get out and play in front of a crowd where there’s a little bit of an atmosphere makes it a little bit more exciting.”

The Huskies finished their first season under Mettlach at 5-5 in 2023, and as they get another offseason under their belts, there’s plenty of optimism among the players about what they can achieve in 2024.

“Coach Mettlach, you know, everything is efficient. Everyone’s working hard. He raises a very tough group and it’s awesome,” said Huskies linebacker Marc Sippel. “It’s been a great, great spring and I think we’re ready to jump right into summer and keep building right towards Bemidji State in Week Zero next year. We’ve got a huge veteran group coming back this year. When you’re looking at it, we’ve got on the defensive side, nine to eleven guys coming back, a starting quarterback coming back, an up and coming running back group with a lot of guys with experience. So, it’s really those guys taking the initiative to take our team up up a notch this spring, which has been pretty cool to see and lead those young guys in the right direction.”

The scrimmage also gave the program a chance to introduce most of the 32 members of their incoming freshman class, and take a look at players who will be battling for roles in training camp.

“We’ve got 32 in this class, 26 of them are up today, so it gets them acclimated to who’s coming into this class with them,” said Mettlach. “Introduces them to the rest of our locker room and then obviously the local fans get a chance to see who they are and where they’re coming from. Defensively, we’ve got some guys out with eligibility deals that are coming back for their sixth years, so we had some spots on the D-line that got a little extra work.”

After the grind of spring practice, the game was an opportunity for players to let loose a bit as they look ahead to the end of the school year, and get ready for training camp later in the summer.

“Showing up every day with that right mindset of, you know, showing up being tough, coming in, working hard,” said Sippel. “You know, we went through our winter conditioning a couple of weeks before spring ball started and just showing up and having that mindset of coming in and dominating every single day.”

“Our work comes in those first 14 practices. This day today is for them to get out and have some fun where we’re not always constantly on them or coaching up every single movement,” said Mettlach. “But, you know, a chance for the young guys, the guys that haven’t had a lot of experience on game days, to get in a game-like atmosphere where the sticks are out. It’s live tackling, there’re refs involved.”

The Huskies will kick off the 2024 season on Thursday, August 29 in an away game against Bemidji State.

“These next two weeks, they’ll be getting ready for their exams here in a week from now, so we’re hands off,” Mettlach said. “We’ve got some exit meetings, but they’re taking care of the academic part of things. Then once Track A starts in the summertime, we’ll have 40 or more guys up right from the get go, and as soon as the 4th of July ends, looking to have the majority of our team on campus already at that point. So, these next three months are going to be big. Back in the weight room in our conditioning program with our strength coach, and then as we get closer to August, we’ll start talking some more football at that point. Bigger, faster, stronger for the next three months and getting our guys bulletproof before the season starts.”

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