We’re nearing the end of the third week of NDSU’s fall camp with an update on Chase Morlock, who had knee surgery earlier this week, but should be expected in the lineup for Iowa State, Jeff has a full update here.
Had a chance to visit with redshirt freshman defensive tackle Nate Tanguay for the first time earlier this week, he knows he has plenty of pressure on him to perform and says going up against Billy Turner, Tyler Gimmestad and Josh Colville was the best learning experience, watch my story here.
I tweeted out the story last night that USA Today ran about Liberty and its pursuit of moving up to FBS, with some frank comments from some Sun Belt officials: ”They have a lot of resources, but does anybody even know they’re Division I?” the person said. “If we’re going to add a 12th, we want someone people are going to recognize and raise the profile of the conference. I just don’t think Liberty adds anything to our profile.”
I know all schools aren’t the same but this is another warning sign for schools that are looking to move up. I think a big test case for Bison fans to watch this fall is what happens with Georgia Southern and App State, each going thru their first year in the Sun Belt, they still don’t have all their athletes on scholarship, but each were predicted to finish middle of the road in the league.
Finally some humor from SB Nation on why you should watch Eastern Washington-Sam Houston State this Saturday, my question is how many will this weekend? Live blog will follow on Sunday night at 10pm join us!
· David Crum, senior associate athletic director, Colorado State University
· Troy Goergen, senior associate athletic director, NDSU
· Matthew Larsen, senior associate athletic director, Stony Brook University
· Stephen Watson, athletic director, St. Bonaventure University
Thoughts on the final four?
Monday means a new week of fall camp is here, Jeff and I were at practice this morning, NDSU is holding its next to last two-a-day of the fall this afternoon, we go into RJ Urzendowski getting his redshirt lifted and other stories surrounding the team. Also, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads has named a starting quarterback for the game against NDSU, it’s junior Sam Richardson, more on that here, much more on the Cyclones in the next 10 days.
We are closing in on the start of a new season, which means the return of the Sunday Night Ramblings! We’ll officially get started next Sunday at 10pm Central, but we’ll do a short version tonight to get ourselves some practice, so I know it’s late notice, but join us if you’d like!
NDSU will hold its first scrimmage of fall camp tomorrow afternoon at the Fargodome as Jeff already noted it is closed to the media and the public, spoke with head coach Chris Klieman this evening for some updates heading into the scrimmage:
- Staff will meet tomorrow to determine how many plays scrimmage will go, original plan was 60 plays, may be scaled back to 45, flu bug is running thru the team right now, three players had to be sent home today including Austin Kuhnert and Kyle Emanuel.
- Zach Vraa returned to practice on Thursday and has looked good, he was wearing the white no-contact jersey today, he was out earlier this week with concussion-like symptoms. Redshirt freshman tight end Jeff Ilies was back at practice after missing the last 3-4 days with an oblique injury.
- Chase Morlock will be held out of tomorrow’s scrimmage with a knee issue, Klieman intimated that he did not believe the injury to be anything serious.
- Brian Schaetz is back practicing after being out with first a broken foot, then a blood clot, Klieman says he looks very good on the defensive line and that unit as a whole is coming together well. Nate Tanguay and Grant Morgan have performed well, Austin Farnlof is having some good moments as well.
- Linebacker depth is progressing where Klieman wants it, Nick DeLuca looks solid, Bo Liekhus is getting more reps because of a groin problem with Esley Thorton. Klieman specifically made mention of MJ Stumpf, who has really come along, Klieman attributed his progress because of injuries during spring ball to Carlton Littlejohn and Travis Beck that Stumpf got many more reps and seems to have taken advantage of that.
- The biggest piece of news is that true freshman wide receiver RJ Urzendowski will play right away. Klieman said that Urzendowski “is good to go now”. His role is yet to be determined, but the practices I’ve been at Urzendowski hasn’t looked out of sorts at all. Urzendowski was one of the top recruits of the Class of 2014, but you wonder about the returners at wide receiver, Eric Perkins, DeSean Warren, Dee Gray, has Urzendowski passed all of them? Just doing a little research tonight, it’s been a few years since a true freshman wide receiver has played for NDSU, go back to 2011 and former walk-on Nate Moody. You’ll remember that the Bison dealt with injuries that entire season, Ryan Smith missed two games, Zach Vraa broke his other collarbone in the season opener against Lafayette. Interested to see what kind of year Urzendowski will have.
More updates to come as the weekend goes along, make sure you join Jeff and me on #KolpackAndIzzo tomorrow morning at 9 am on 970 WDAY.
Of all the Bison position groups, the offensive line will be the most untested when NDSU travels to Iowa State in two weeks. There is only one returning starter, Joe Haeg, and he’s moving from right tackle to left tackle.
Tackle Billy Turner and guard Tyler Gimmestad graduated. Center Josh Colville had a career-ending knee ailment. Guard Zack Johnson suffered a season-ending knee injury. We have a story going on Jeremy Kelly for Sunday’s newspaper and the transfer may play a key role this season.
“We’re going to put the best two on the right side out there, the best two on the left side out there and the best center out there,” Kelly said. “We have only one returning starter and he’s not returning at the same position so there is a lot of competition out there. We’re rotating a lot of guys at a lot of different positions to see where everything fits.”
Kelly is not your ordinary Division II transfer from Minnesota-Crookston. He accepted a scholarship at Air Force after a first team all-state season in Somerset, Wis. NDSU offered 95 percent of a full ride. Kelly did not get through basic training and when he left Air Force before the season began, the other scholarship offers that were once there were no longer. Crookston offered 40 percent of a full ride and he took it. After two miserable seasons in Crookston, he transferred to NDSU, walking on, and redshirted last year.
Of note, it’s interesting how weights get distorted with different publications. The Crookston roster listed him at 280 pounds; he said he was 262 when he transferred to NDSU. Out of high school, he was listed anywhere from 6-7, 230 to 6-6 and 245. On Friday, he said he’s 6-6 and 290 and looks the part of a Division I offensive lineman.
Minor injuries to veteran Bison wide receivers are giving two true freshmen an even better chance of playing right away this season. Head coach Chris Klieman said R.J. Urzendowski and Khayvon Hawkins have positioned themselves to have their redshirt pulled. That decision is probably at least a week away – certainly it will wait until after an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday. At the least, they’ve gotten more practice repetitions with the returning regulars because of injuries to Zach Vraa, Trevor Gebhart and Nate Moody.
All three are expected back within a week. Vraa is being held out as a precautionary measure because of possible concussion symptoms and Gebhart and Moody have minor leg ailments. “We made a conscious decision as a staff and said, OK, let’s force feed them,” Klieman said. “Let’s force feed R.J., let’s force feed Khayvon and they’ve really responded.”
Urzendowski is from Omaha and Hawkins is from Crystal, Minn. Another true freshman on defense is also responding in cornerback Jalen Allison, who has been seeing time with the No. 1 defense in passing situations. “He’ll be able to potentially help us on some things,” Klieman said. “The rest of the week will be really important for those guys including the scrimmage on Saturday to see if they can do it under fire.”
The scrimmage at the Fargodome will be closed to the public and media. Klieman also noted true freshman quarterback Easton Stick has shown he’ll be in the competitive mix as a backup. Junior Carson Wentz is the starter with sophomore Derek McGinnis and redshirt freshman Cole Davis competing for the backup job. Redshirt freshman offensive guard Austin Kuhnert has positioned himself for a spot in the rotation as has junior offensive tackle Jeremy Kelly, who’s currently sidelined with a back ailment but is expected back soon.
NDSU released seven candidates the school is considering for the open athletic director position, the release added that the position will remain open until filled and that applications are still being reviewed as they come in.
- David Crum, senior associate athletic director, Colorado State University
- Troy Goergen, senior associate athletic director, NDSU
- Rick Hartzell, former athletic director, University of Northern Iowa
- Matthew Larsen, senior associate athletic director, Stony Brook University
- Tim Mooney, associate athletic director, University of Idaho
- Jeff Tingey, athletic director, Idaho State University
- Stephen Watson, athletic director, St. Bonaventure University