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Dragons QB Falk having fun meshing with offense's 'new toys' during spring football practices

Minnesota State Moorhead sophomore Tommy Falk is preparing for his second season as the Dragons starting quarterback.

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Minnesota State Moorhead quarterback Tommy Falk launches a pass during morning football practice at Alex Nemzek on Thursday, March 31, 2022.
David Samson / The Forum
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MOORHEAD — Minnesota State Moorhead head coach Steve Laqua has tried to take sophomore quarterback Tommy Falk out of his comfort zone during spring football practices.

Laqua has done that by creating situations where veteran wide receiver Ryan Bieberdorf is being taken away by the defense so Falk has to look elsewhere for completions to MSUM's younger receiving targets.

“The challenge now is finding new receivers that he’s working with,” Laqua said. “He’s got to develop that same chemistry and understanding of the new receivers. … We did not put Bieberdorf in a position where he couldn’t be his security blanket.”

The Dragons completed their 10th of 15 spring practices Tuesday morning and their spring game is scheduled for April 23 at Scheels Field at Alex Nemzek Stadium.

“We have a lot of playmakers who can do a lot of good things for us,” said Falk, from Jamestown, N.D. “I think it’s fun. You get to try out some new toys and see what they’re good at and how their skill set fits in with us.”

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Minnesota State Moorhead quarterback Tommy Falk (10) throws down field during the Dragons' game against Augustana on Saturday, Sept. 18, in Sioux Falls, S.D. Josh Jurgens / Special to The Forum

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Bieberdorf had 59 catches for 696 yards and seven touchdowns last fall, but the Dragons lost two of their top three receiving targets, including super senior Grady Bresnahan. Bresnahan led the team with 75 catches for 954 yards and eight TDs in his final season with the Dragons.

Bresnahan was one of the team’s leaders on offense, a role that Falk is transitioning into as he prepares for his second season as the team’s starting QB.

“He’s growing in his leadership voice,” Laqua said.

The Dragons posted a 5-6 record in Falk’s first season as the starter. He completed 252 of 413 (61%) passes for 2,874 yards and 20 touchdowns with 10 interceptions in 11 games. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Falk averaged 261.3 passing yards per game last fall.

"He got a good year of experience,” Laqua said. “There were definitely some ups and downs, but more ups than downs.”

Falk was a redshirt in 2020, but that fall season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Dragons had an extended 2021 spring camp, which included two scrimmages against Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference opponents, because the fall season was lost.

Falk said getting game action last fall was important in his development.

“It’s been nice to be able to improve on a lot of things,” Falk said. “You learn a lot from game experience and now being able to improve upon it. … Mentally, everything has slowed down a lot more, but I think it’s an overall comfort level with being around the guys, being able to be that leader.”

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Laqua said Falk has improved on his movement skills during the offseason and that has shown during the spring.

“He’s definitely worked on his mobility,” Laqua said. “We’ve noticed that. Especially when he’s out on the run he’s a lot more agile and fluid.”

Dragons freshmen Carter Birrenkott and Gage Florence and former QB Garret Meehl are among the younger receivers that Falk is trying to develop chemistry with heading into the fall. Bieberdorf is the top returning veteran.

“Biebs is a beast. His play speaks for itself,” Falk said. “Third down you need a play, you’ve got to have a guy who can go make it. It makes my job easier.”

The offensive line has three holdovers Bennett Heftman, Troy Casperson and Tyler Martin. Garrett Coughlin and Jake Schneider are two younger offensive linemen who have shown promise this spring.

The Dragons also return two experienced backs in Luke Imdieke and Hayden Boll. The 5-foot-9, 183-pound Imdieke rushed for 299 yards and one touchdown on 78 attempts. The 6-foot, 230-pound Boll rushed for 277 yards and eight TDs on 91 attempts. Imdieke also caught 30 passes for 310 yards, which ranked fourth on the team last fall.

“We know we’re going to need some guys to step up and the young guys especially have done a tremendous job,” Falk said. “I think we can do a little bit more with the skill position guys.”

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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