It was about this time last year when you had to wonder about the future depth chart of the Bison running back spot. D.J. McNorton was a senior and 2011 was his last go-around, of course. Sophomore Sam Ojuri was coming off a year of absence for violation of team rules so he had yet to prove himself on a game-by-game basis. He had 32 carries for 144 yards as a freshman in 2009.
John Crockett was still in the process of gaining eligibility, so his status certainly was questionable. Derrick Lang was a walkon and Matt Jones was redshirting as the top running back recruit. So what do the Bison have with the season opener just days away? A promising mix of speed, power and athleticism.
Ojuri proved himself and then some last year. Crockett has emerged as half of the 1-2 punch NDSU has liked to use in recent years. Lang is the power and is improving in other areas, also, to where he’ll play regularly. Those three have a goal of 3,000 yards, Crockett said this week, with nobody mentioning 1,000 individually and he said the vibe between he and Ojuri has been tight knit since camp starterd.
“Me and Sam have this thing, we just look at each other,” Crockett said. “We speak without speaking to each other. Whoever gets the most yards, we take the other out to dinner. We like to have fun. We understand a lot rides on the running back, we understand that, but we look up to that as a challenge.”