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Eric Peterson, Published April 14 2012

MSUM football's Brody welcomes transition back to linebacker

MOORHEAD – Tyler Brody rose to his feet after recovering a fumble and then extended his right arm, pointing the football to signify a first down in the opposite direction.

That was one of the impact plays the senior linebacker made Saturday at Alex Nemzek Stadium during Minnesota State Moorhead’s football scrimmage.

“We have a lot of good linebacker athletes, so the spring is a good time to see what we can do and where we fit,” Brody said.

Brody is moving back to outside linebacker this spring after he had a strong season at safety for the Dragons last fall. Brody finished third in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in tackles last season with 10.5 per game and also earned honorable mention All-NSIC honors.

“Outside linebacker is his natural position, so it’s nice to get him back there,” Dragons head coach Steve Laqua said. “Last year, he did what was best for the team by stepping back to the safety position and did the best he could with it.”

Before last season, Brody had played both inside and outside linebacker for MSUM. Playing in the front seven is nothing new for the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder from Rochester, Minn.

Brody is excited for the chance to once again play near the line of scrimmage, being more involved in stopping run plays and also rushing the quarterback.

“I feel real comfortable being on that spot on the outside,” Brody said. “Being closer to the ball, I like it a lot more. You are closer to the action.”

Brody is expected to be an anchor for a retooled group of linebackers in the Dragons’ 3-4 scheme. Sam Callahan, who played at Fargo South, has moved from inside linebacker to an outside spot opposite of Brody. Inside linebackers Andrew Pittman and Nick Seedorff played at outside spots last season.

“We felt those position changes would help fit each of those players the best, so we could get the best out of them,” Laqua said. “That was one of our main goals this spring. Those changes need to be good changes.”

The defense controlled action during the early part of Saturday’s scrimmage, and the linebackers played an important role in that strong showing.

Pittman made a stellar diving interception during one series to go along with Brody’s fumble recovery.

“The coaches today made it real apparent that today was a tryout,” Brody said. “Everybody is competing for a position, so everybody is excited to come out here and show what they got.”

The offense made more plays as the scrimmage progressed. Redshirt freshman quarterback Myles Montplaisir threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to tight end Shawn Marlowe, who later caught a 7-yard TD pass from freshman QB Ryan Toelle. Montplaisir added a 77-yard touchdown run on an option play.

Running back Brandon Schell had a 25-yard TD run on the final play of the scrimmage.

“I like the way the defense started,” Laqua said. “I liked that the offense bounced back and made some plays as the scrimmage went along. From a standpoint of focusing, the defense has to continue to be better throughout at game. We faded at the end. That mental focus has got to be better.”

The Dragons are set to have their spring game next Saturday.

“I liked our competition,” Brody said. “I liked our team being competitive because that’s how we’re really going to get a jumpstart into the fall. … I’m excited for our next scrimmage.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com