Oredigger heating up late in spring

The Montana Tech Green and White football game is still a week away.

Oredigger coach Chuck Morrell, though, isn’t going to wait until then to declare the spring of 2014 a successful one.

“I’m very pleased with the progress that we made to this point,” Morrell said after practice on Friday morning.

Morrell isn’t grading on a curve because the Orediggers and new offensive coordinator Pete Sterbick are installing a brand-new offense, either.

“If you would have told me three months ago that we’d be this far along I wouldn’t have bought it,” the coach said.

“We scrimmaged on Thursday, and the offense was dominant,” Morrell said. “They had a great session and really had the defense on its heels. It really challenged us defensively to come back today, and you saw the defense when we went live at the end of practice.”

The Orediggers, who have been practicing on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday each week, have been holding short scrimmages at the end of practice. They have Saturday off because of Easter.

“We kind of found out a couple of weeks ago that we got to the point where we’ve got enough install in,” Morrell said. “Now it’s time to put ourselves into game situations.”

Next Saturday, at 1 p.m. on the Bob Green Field, the Orediggers will run about 60 plays in their annual spring game.

That will give Tech fans a chance to see the Oredigger quarterback of the future. Which quarterback that will be, though, is not apparent.

Helena freshman Dawson Reardon, who started a game last year before injuring his knee and gaining a medical redshirt, is competing against newcomer Andrew Loudenback for the starting job.

Loudenback is a sophomore Colorado native who transferred at the semester from Monterey Peninsula Community College in Monterey, Calif.

“Those guys are both doing some tremendous things,” Morrell said. “Andrew has made some tremendous throws and shown some great mobility. Dawson has been throwing some lasers out there as well.”

The competition has made each quarterback better, the coach said.

“Both those guys are really pushing each other right now,” Morrell said. “I’m very comfortable at this point with either one of those guys stepping on the field four us.”

Morrell said one thing that has really stood out about his offense is the number of playmakers who have been making plays. The offense has some series depth.

“One thing we believe in is we really do have a number of guys who can make plays,” Morrell said. “Whether it’s coming out of our back field or our wide receiver corps. Whether it’s our ones or the next guys up, there’s guys within the framework of our twos who can make some plays.”

On the other side of the ball, the Orediggers are working on filling some big shoes.

“On defense, there’s some spots where we’re young right now,” Morrell said. “We’re really trying some guys out. There’s a few spots where we obviously lost some guys to graduation. There’s some depth, there’s a lot of competition, there’s just not a ton of experience.”

Tech does have some big-time guys returning to anchor the defense at the linebacker position.

“Of course we’re going to ride David Meis, Mike Touzinsky and Tommy Peterson,” Morrell said. “Those guys have a ton of experience, and we feel they’re going to be our leaders going into the fall.”

The Orediggers open the 2014 season Aug. 23 against Montana Western in Dillon.

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