The departure of the starting running back for most of the Missouri Valley Football Conference would not be a promising thing. This is my fifth year covering the league since NDSU joined in 2008 and very few teams have a No. 2 guy who is close or just as good as the No. 1 guy.
The Bison are an exception. It started with Tyler Roehl and Pat Paschall, continued with Paschall and D.J. McNorton, then McNorton and Sam Ojuri and now Ojuri and John Crockett. With Ojuri serving a one-game suspension on Saturday, that leaves Crockett as the featured back. He can handle that job and moreover, he was NDSU’s best back last week against Northern Iowa.
The player the Bison can’t afford to lose the most is middle linebacker Grant Olson, not a starting running back. Antonio Rodgers may be listed as the backup, but he has yet to play a meaningful snap. I’ve been under the impression lately that Carlton Littlejohn would be the backup to Olson anyway should he go down and somebody else, either DeShawn Dinwiddie, Bobby Ollman or Esley Thorton, would fill Littlejohn’s spot. The linebacker depth is a concern, indeed.
That’s the deal with FCS football; there’s always going to be at least one position group with a top 10 team that is lacking. There are just not enough recruiting dollars to go around. In the case of NDSU, middle linebacker is your most valuable spot.