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Carroll College

Saints Football Scrimmage Set for Saturday

Contributed by admin on Aug 24, 2015 - 11:25 PM

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HELENA, Mont. - The Fighting Saints take the field on Saturday for their second scrimmage of this year's fall camp and head coach Mike Van Diest is looking to create more competition on both sides of the ball.
The defensive line lacks a returning starter but senior Kyle Smith and sophomore Beaugh Meyer have the most experience.

"I am pleased how the guys on the defensive line have progressed," Van Diest said. "Kyle and Beaugh both are playing physically and put on some weight in the offseason. Beaugh is using his hands a lot better than two years ago before he got hurt. Gus Somerfield is another guy who is impressive, he hasn't played in a game but he's been on this team for four years and he has come a long way."

The Carroll offense is progressing nicely under the helm of senior quarterback Mac Roche and Eric Dawson's move from the defense to tight end looks to be paying off. He has impressed Van Diest so far with his pass catching ability and is improving run blocking.

"Eric is just doing a great job," Van Diest said. "We've talked about in the paper and the media but he gives us something we haven't had since 2010 and that is a big weapon in the tight end position. That's a big plus for the offense. Now we have to put him in better position to run block and I think he is getting more physical in that aspect."

The battle for the starting running back position continues to be a tight contest between Dylan Green and Ryan Walsh. Walsh has made big strides since spring.

"Ryan has always had speed but he added a little bit of weight and I like how physical he has been," Van Diest said. "Ryan and Dylan Green are still battling but whoever doesn't start is going to get pretty equal time and that is a real plus for us."

Depth is a strength at a few positions, including quarterback, and the Carroll coaching staff doesn't want to see athleticism sit on the bench. Tanner Gustavsen currently sits third on the depth chart but he has found reps at receiver as well as with the quarterbacks.

 "Gustavsen is very much like Dakota Stonehouse, he is playing behind a great quarterback in Mac Roche and an experienced backup in JT Linder," Van Diest said. "It is hard to get a QB on the field but he is talented and athletic and it is a great opportunity to build some depth at the receiver position."

The defensive secondary is the most experienced group on the field with returning starters at every position and led by Second-Team All-American James Dowgin at Safety.

"Every time I see number four line up out there I get excited," Van Diest said. "We have had some great players here and this isn't to undermine anyone else who has ever played here but Dowgin is the best safety I have ever been around. His instincts are tremendous and the plays he makes are just awesome.  If I was at the University of Wyoming he would be playing for me there. James and Greg Tucker make a great duo."

The veterans aren't the only players turning head over the first nine days of practice, freshmen Connor FohnConner Poulson and Isazah King have all seen significant time with the first and second-team offense. Van Diest is excited continue to evaluate during Saturday's scrimmage.

"There are a lot of guys that people don't know much about like Green and Walsh at running back and a few young freshmen out there," Van Diest said. "This scrimmage is a great opportunity for us to get some great film and continue to evaluate and continue to build depth."

The scrimmage is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. Saturday at Nelson Stadium and is open to the public.