North Dakota State began week three of spring drills this afternoon underneath the Dacotah Field bubble, which has become the spring home of the Bison. With the weather looking non-spring like for the next ten days and the circus coming to the Fargodome, the bubble is where the Bison will be.
The Bison wrapped their sixth practice this afternoon, head coach Chris Klieman says the team will hold its first “scrimmage” on Friday. This spring is an interesting test for the team, with so many guys out or being held out, I’m not sure how much of a gauge we can get from even the younger players.
From what I’ve seen from the three practices I’ve been to, Noah Sanders may have a slight edge on Holden Hotchkiss. Hotchkiss was believed to have the lead entering the spring, based on the fact that he traveled on the road last year with the team, akin to what Easton Stick did in 2014. But Sanders has looked impressive, his ability to throw the deep ball has grabbed my attention. Sanders passed on a offer from Montana State to walk-on to NDSU and his attitude about that decision was striking. “Why wouldn’t I come here?” was his response when I asked him about that decision last week. There isn’t going to be a decision made at the end of the spring on who will be Stick’s backup in September, but clearly something we’ll be following the next couple of weeks.
I’ve been focused on the offensive line as well, and Cordell Volson is massive. Volson told me he came to Fargo at 265 pounds. He now weighs 313 pounds and is all of 6’7. Coaches have told me he’s taken the biggest step forward and will be in the rotation next fall. We had our eyes on Volson last year, but it appears the time is now. When I asked him about his goal for this spring, he said, “to keep getting better and find my way into the O-line rotation.” Hard to envision a scenario where he’s not there and he’ll play tackle. It creates an interesting question for Conor Riley on who he plays where. Dillon Radunz is a left tackle and that’s where he’ll play. Colin Conner started all 15 games at left tackle last season, he’s out this spring nursing surgeries on both of his hips.
Zack Johnson started all 15 games at right tackle in 2017 and did a solid job. Tanner Volson is the starting center, but after that you could see lots of movement on the O-line this fall. You could see Radunz at LT, Colin Conner at LG, Tanner Volson at center, Zack Johnson at RG and Cordell Volson at RT? That’s a monster O-line.
I’ll have another football update coming later in the week.
In case you missed it, a big honor for former NDSU head coach Bob Babich:
Continue to check back for more regular blog updates, have a couple of ideas I’m considering doing and want to test them out here.