There was very little spring football in the Big Sky Conference.
Except at Portland State.
The Vikings were able to get in 14 of their 15 practices before everything came to a halt on March 18 due the coronavirus pandemic.
The only loss was the Vikings spring game to wrap up the NCAA practice allotment.
The big wins were for Clark County natives JoJo Siofele and Brady Brick.
Siofele, a freshman running back from Union High School, and Brick, a junior offensive lineman from Battle Ground, were able to get more evaluation heading into fall practice … whenever that is.
“For sure, it doesn’t hurt anytime you can take the field,” Brick said in a recent telephone interview. “We had a group of seven (due to injuries) so we got quite a bit of reps, and I was thankful for that. It will help us next year despite what is going on right now.”
Portland State went 5-7 overall last year, 3-5 in the Big Sky. The Vikings finished with a four-game losing streak, but gave Eastern Washington a run for its money in the season finale at Cheney, losing 53-46.
It was in that game where Siofele was able to show some of what he can bring to the PSU offense.
Out most of the 2019 season with a hamstring injury suffered in the second practice of the fall, Siofele showed this spring he’s ready to go for a full freshman season. At 5-foot-10, 205 pounds, he was listed third on the running backs spring depth chart.
“He was finally back for the Eastern Washington game, and gave us a taste of what he can do,” said head coach Bruce Barnum, himself a Vancouver resident and alum of Columbia River High. “Now he’s healthy and had a great spring.”
Siofele had two carries for six yards in the EWU game. He got on the field against UC Davis on Nov. 9, but did not have a carry.
Barnum said Siofele is one of the smartest football players he’s been around.
“You put something in and he just knows it,” Barnum said. “That’s hard to find these days. His football IQ is through the roof. He’s going to win some games for us.”
Brick, 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, came into spring atop the depth chart at left guard. But competition among friends on the O-line is ongoing.
And it’s close.
Just because he’s played in 23 games as a Viking, Brick said he’s there to make everyone better.
“On the offensive line, our philosophy is you obviously fight for your playing time and earn it, but you never work against somebody on the offensive line,” Brick explained. “The goal is to put the best five on the field and if you’re not in the first five then you do what you can to help the first five get better while getting yourself better to get into that first five.”
Brick was part of a class of recruits that was Barnum’s first as head coach.
“That group I came in with, we are all brothers,” Brick said. “The whole team is close. We are together no matter what.”
It’s something not all college football teams were able to experience this spring.