It wasn’t a good couple of days of practice for NDSU over the weekend from the injury-bug standpoint. Of course, the big story was the season-ending ACL to defensive end Greg Menard and the updated story can be found here. But there’s something about watching Jeff Illies hobble off the field on crutches that didn’t pass the it’s-just-a-small-thing eyeball test. The tight end had some sort of wrap around his knee and it looked stiff.
Bison head coach Chris Klieman had a speaking commitment that forced him to leave immediately after practice, so he wasn’t available for comment. Offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham more or less deferred the question to somebody else, presumably Klieman. And we probably won’t know officially until Wednesday since availability to players and coaches for the next two weeks is Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“Yes, we’ve had some injuries happen and that’s the way it is,” Messingham said. “But the next guy is ready to go and we have a number of guys who can run well and a number of guys that really understand football.”
Asked to get specific on Illies and he said, “I don’t want to get specific on it.”
As to the depth, that would most likely begin with senior Connor Wentz, the starter coming out of spring football. Sophomore Ben Ellefson made some strides last spring. Junior Nate Jenson, 6-foot-6 and 246 pounds, is tabbed as that red-zone threat. Sophomore Matt Anderson also got some good looks in spring ball. Certainly, there’s the allure of top recruit Noah Gindorff, a true freshman. Another true freshman whose name I’ve heard is 6-6 Josh Babicz from Barrington, Ill. And don’t forget about fullback Brock Robbins, who was moved to tight end in spring to be that double threat Andrew Bonnet was a couple of years ago.