Rocky Spring Practice

Rocky Mountain College quarterbacks Nathan Dick (11) and Drew Korf (4) will be running the offense Sunday at the Battlin' Bears scrimmage.

BILLINGS — Chris Stutzriem doesn’t need to yell during practice.

He’s got a megaphone slung over his right shoulder, ready to use at his convenience.

“I lose my voice so much,” explained the first-year head coach for the Rocky Mountain College football program. “And when you yell across the field, a kid might think you’re yelling at him. It’s mainly for communication for the whole field.”

Stutzriem might not be using his megaphone Sunday night but voices will be raised when the Battlin’ Bears hold their only scrimmage of fall camp at Herb Klindt Field. The scrimmage will begin at 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

The scrimmage for the defending Frontier Conference champion will be more structured than the spring game, according to the coach.

“The spring game, to me, that’s fun time. Let it roll and get after it,” Stutzriem said. “(Sunday) We’ll be doing a lot of situations … two-minute drills, third-down situations … it will be very controlled. We’ll put guys in situations they will face in games.

“We might have two drives where well tell them, ‘Let’s go play football.’ “

The scrimmage will be another piece of the puzzle as the Battlin’ Bears try to find a replacement for quarterback Jacob Bakken, the Frontier Conference offensive player of the year in 2018.

Drew Korf and Nathan Dick have been sharing reps with the No. 1 and No. 2 offenses. Stutzriem said that won’t change on Sunday.

“Everybody will be equal. Nate and Drew will get equal reps. We might call the same plays for each,” said Stutzriem with a small laugh.

Progress for the quarterbacks has been videoed and charted all fall camp. Everything from completions to big plays, which are pass plays of more than 15 yards.

“Both are neck-and-neck,” Stutzriem said of the competition. “Drew might be two percentage points ahead of Nate in one area, while Nate is two percentage points ahead of Drew in another.

“We’ll watch film from the scrimmage and eventually make our decision. They’re making it very tough. We’re still going to play both of them during the season.”

Stutzriem said there are other competitions in other areas of the field as the Battlin’ Bears reach almost the midway point to their 20 scheduled practices. The scrimmage will be practice No. 9.

“Our offensive and defensive lines are getting after each other, both sides very aggressive,” he said. “Our biggest concern is probably depth across the board. Some freshmen need to step up a little bit.

“I think our guys are competing very hard and all the coaches are doing a great job. The players know when to take things serious and when to have fun. And they’ve been holding each other accountable.”

And Stutzriem’s praise extended to his assistant coaches.

“It’s awesome when you have to kick them out of the building,” he said.

Rocky opens the 2019 season on Thursday, Aug. 29 at Dickinson State.

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Email Joe Kusek at joe.kusek@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsJoe

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