Bison Video Blog: 2nd Scrimmage Recap

Scrimmage number two of the spring is in the books for NDSU and unlike last Saturday, the defense stole the show. Several players came to the forefront, including Esley Thorton who continues to progress nicely at linebacker, picking up an interception today. Eight different receivers caught passes, Carey Woods had two terrific catches, including one tip-toe catch along the sideline. Full highlights will be posted later, but here’s our recap including a special guest getting screen time.


Football, coaches and fantasy golf league

We interrupt spring football and the hiring of men’s and women’s basketball coaches to bring this programming note: Before the Kolpack & Izzo Saturday morning radio show from 9-11 a.m. is the WDAY Golf Show from 8-9 a.m., which just resumed last Saturday for another summer run.
New this year: a golf fantasy league where the weekly winner gets one hour of free simulator time at the Golf Addiction in south Fargo. The fantasy league is free to join, to do so, follow the link on the lower left of the WDAY radio web page that can be accessed here.

 

Sunday LIVE Chat

Another busy week has come and gone in NDSU athletics, from the hiring of a new basketball coach at NDSU, the renovation of the Bison Sports Arena to the first scrimmage of the spring football season, we’ll discuss it all at 10pm Central tonight!

 

Bison First Scrimmage Highlights

Impressive showing for some players yesterday at NDSU’s first scrimmage ranging from unknown Melvin DeSouza to known commodities like Chase Morlock. Carson Wentz is entrenched as the starting quarterback, but strong showings from Tyler Wrice, Chris Board, Alex Hahn and Dee Gray. We’ll be back later today with our usual Sunday chat beginning at 10pm Central.


First Bison scrimmage: His name is Melvin DeSouza

So you Google one of the standouts from NDSU’s intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday afternoon at Dacotah Field — Melvin DeSouza — and what you get is a highlight film of No. 92 playing defensive end for Eden Prairie High School in the Twin Cities. He was a running back for the Bison who scored two touchdowns including a 75-yarder when he ran away from some people.

He’s an interesting story with more on him in the Sunday Forum. But the short version: he walked on to the team in the middle of last season after head coach Craig Bohl called him. He transferred from the North Dakota State College of Science without much fanfare and looked into joining the team right away. He had never played running back in his life until Bohl put him there. He may not play much, if at all, next season. But you never know. He’s 5-foot-9 and 225 pounds and is at least making offensive coordinator Tim Polasek take notice: Polasek mentioned him on an appearance on our Kolpack & Izzo radio show this morning. Our response: Melvin who?

Other thoughts from today:

  • Quarterback Carson Wentz was sharp, particularly on a 19-yard back-shoulder touchdown pass to Dee Gray. Wentz is clear and away the starting quarterback. The question will be his backup: Derek McGinnis or Cole Davis.
  • Starting running back John Crockett was held out — so were several other starters — but sophomore Chase Morlock was every bit the 1-2 role that Crockett played last year with Sam Ojuri. Morlock had 44 yards on three successive carries at one point.
  • The defense was very good in the first half of the scrimmage. The offense dominated the second half, which in the good news-bad news department may not bode well for the depth on defense at this point.
  • Freshman safety Chris Board looks like a player. He had a quarterback sack, defended a pass play well and tackled a receiver for a short gain in a span of three out of four plays.
  • In the Melvin DeSouza department, the media folks were also scrambling to find the name of another player not on the roster who scored a touchdown. Running back Colter Pritchard, a walkon from Langdon, N.D., scored on a 40-yard pass reception from backup quarterback Cole Davis.

The Next Step

Now that NDSU has made a decision on head coach, the first order of business for Dave Richman is to make sure the four signed incoming freshmen intend to honor their commitment. Mark Miller from WisSports.net reported Thursday that Paul Miller intends to keep his commitment to NDSU for next year. I spoke with Germantown (WI) head coach Steve Showalter today he said that Jake Showalter (his son) and Evan Wesenberg plan to meet with the Bison coaches about their status. Have not heard any change of commitment from Prior Lake’s Jon Sobaski, the other signed commitment. NDSU has two scholarships left to play with, a JUCO big man is coming in for a visit this weekend for Richman to look at.

Some other news tonight; the rumor that we heard over the weekend became official as Western Illinois head coach Jim Molinari resigned as head coach of the Leathernecks. The full story is here from Peoria, with comments from Molinari, confirming he is joining Tim Miles’ staff at Nebraska.

Jim Molinari has resigned from Western Illinois to join Tim Miles at Nebraska.

Molinari leaves Macomb after completing revamping that program, the Leathernecks were bad for a while, but he turned the team into nearly an NCAA tourney team, losing to SDSU in the Summit League final in 2012. WIU made back to back CBIs in 2012 and ’13.

With Molinari leaving, that makes five of the current eight Summit League schools that will have new coaches in 2014-15. NDSU (Dave Richman); USD (Craig Smith); IPFW (Jon Coffman); IUPUI (Jason Garnder) and now WIU. It’s a league that we have got used to schools going back and forth, and now coaches are on the move and that’s a good sign that you have successful teams in a successful league. Add in Oral Roberts, who’s had a solid team for years and what you have is a pretty solid league that’s more stable than it was even 12 months ago.

Lastly, this story seemed crazy 12 months ago when first blogged about, but now it seems there is some serious steam about the possibility about Missouri State moving up to FBS and join the Sun Belt Conference. Brent Thibodeaux, who covers Texas State football for Rivals, tweeted Wednesday that the Sun Belt is hopeful for a 12th school in this order: James Madison – 1st, Missouri State – 2nd and Liberty a distant 3rd.


 

While this news may shock or at least surprise some Bison fans, we’ve been hearing the rumors about Missouri State for a while. The renovation of Plaster Field is a real thing, they have a live camera that you can see the construction going on in Springfield. The Bears have not tore up FCS in recent years, 25-42 since 2008, Mo State won five games this past season, the most since 2010. The Sun Belt is eager to add a 12th school so that the league can stage a championship game at the end of the year for added revenue, and the reason why this is happening and soon is because the deadline to move up for 2015 is June 1st. The actual geographic footprint makes sense for the Sun Belt, despite the additions of two schools in Georgia and one in North Carolina, the rest of the league isn’t that far from Missouri (2 in Arkansas, 2 in Louisiana, 2 in Alabama, 2 in Texas). Western Kentucky is leaving for Conference USA on July 1, but with the additions of Georgia Southern and App State, the league will sit at 11 for this coming football season. We’ve known for a while that James Madison has been sought after, I don’t believe the Sun Belt is their fit, I think they want C-USA, and join their rivals from Old Dominion. As crazy as this is to think, this could happen and soon.

I’ll leave this post with this thought. If Missouri State does decide to leave, that brings the Missouri Valley Football Conference back to 9 teams. On one had you can return to a format where each team plays everybody. On another hand, there could be a possibility that if Mo State is gone, is it inconceivable to think that Patty Viverito and Tom Douple get on the same page and talk to UND? The Summit League would love to get to an even number and that would get them 10. I know Bison fans you can freak out know, but that’s why it’s a blog. Enjoy.

Dave Richman Named Head Coach

It was a short turnaround, but at the end of the day NDSU believes they found the right guy in Wahpeton native Dave Richman. Richman has agreed to a five year contract, paying him 190 thousand dollars a year. Here’s my one on one interview with the new Bison coach from Tuesday night.


Bison Video Blog: ‘Coaching Watch 2014′ edition

Join WDAY sports director Dom Izzo and The Forum’s Jeff Kolpack for the latest Bison Video Blog. Make sure to follow Dom and Jeff on Twitter @DomIzzoWDAY and @FGOSPORTSWRITER.