The first spring practice is in the books. First thought: the practice turf, now in its second year, was one of the most valuable purchases by the athletic department in the last few years. Without it, the Bison wouldn’t be practicing unless they brought in helicopters to dry off the grass practice fields. Other thoughts:
- Tackle Billy Turner’s size is bordering on something to marvel at. Would it be out of line to call the sophomore the best player on the team?
- Freshman quarterback Esley Thorton throws a nice ball, tight spiral with some zip, and it’s obvious why the coaches want to give him a good look.
- JC cornerback Aireal Boyd has nice size at 6-foot-1 and around 190 pounds, and looks like he can match up with the 6-4 receiver out there. We’ll see how quickly he picks up the NDSU defensive scheme.
- Freshman linebacker Travis Beck was working in with the No. 1 defense, but it was in Brandon Jemison’s spot. Jemison is out until fall with a hip injury. If it were a regular season game, you might see somebody like Grant Olson move over from the No. 2 middle linebacker, or maybe they like Beck and are giving him a good look.
- Sophomore Ryan Smith is making a smooth transition from running back to receiver.
- This is the second spring ball for defensive tackle Justin Juckem and receiver Cooper Wahlo, two of the more heralded recruits from the 2009 signing day class. It’s time for those two to take a step or two forward in these 15 practices.
- A possible starting offensive line: Turner at LT, Austin Richard at LG, Jesse Hinz at C, Paul Cornick at RG and Jeff Jerve at RT.