Big weekend for Orediggers

Montana Tech’s football team will be busy this weekend as it nears the end of spring drills.

The Orediggers will receive their Frontier Conference championship rings Friday, host members of their 2013 recruiting class Saturday morning, scrimmage Saturday afternoon and host the Digger Athletic Association Auction Saturday night.

On the field, Oredigger coach Chuck Morrell said his team has had a very productive spring, which concludes April 27 with the annual Green-White Game at Alumni Coliseum.

“They’re going to be ready in the fall,” Morrell said of his Orediggers.

This spring has featured the addition of new offensive coordinator Corey Fipps, who is planning on running an even faster version of the already-fast offence Tech ran the past two seasons under former coordinator Ted Schlafke.

Morrell said that offense, which is being directed mainly by senior quarterback Brian Schwarzkoph, “up to speed.” Schwarzkoph, who was going to move to receiver before last year’s starter Nick Baker announced that he was leaving the team to attend graduate school, is the leading candidate to start in the fall.

“Brian Schwarzkoph moving back to quarterback has exceeded my expectations,” Morrell said. “He’s had a really good spring. He’s owning the offense.”

Transfer Clay Cavender and sophomore Matt Berg have also been taking snaps at quarterback. Cavender, whom Morrell called “lightning in a bottle,” will likely see time at multiple positions on the Oredigger offense.

“We’ve got to find a way for him to touch the ball 15 times a game,” Morrell said of Cavender. “He’s going to give people some problems in the Frontier Conference.”

Morrell pointed to the play of sophomore receiver Alec Bray, who contributed as a true freshman last season.

“You’ve seen him blast off,” Morrell said of Bray. “I think people are going to watch film and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to do something to stop this guy.”

The coach also said he has been impressed with the development of several young players. He said Saturday’s 65-70 play scrimmage, which begins at 1 p.m. at Alumni Coliseum, is basically an audition for players looking to make the travel team when the Orediggers open the season at Eastern Oregon on Sept. 7.

“This is going to be our biggest scrimmage of the spring,” Morrell said. “This is an opportunity for some of our young guys to say to me, ‘Put me on the bus and take me to LaGrande.”

The weekend kicks off with a 7 p.m. ring ceremony Friday at the Knights of Columbus. The Orediggers will also present players with team awards and All-Conference awards.

Former University of Montana and Utah State head coach Mick Dennehy, a Butte native, will speak to the team at the ceremony.