Spring Football for 2013 is in the books; we knew heading in it was going to be a different look than past years and that certainly was the case this entire month; wrapping up with the spring game. What do we learn about this team? Not much that we didn’t already know; quarterbacks look solid; running backs will be good; offensive line returns plenty (although center is still up in the air); defensive line found some depth this spring; especially in South walk-on Danny Luecke; who had a great spring; linebackers was the big question mark coming in; Esley Thorton established himself in my mind as a guy that NDSU can count on in the fall; his body has transformed and he made some nice plays on the ball to convince me at that spot. MJ Stumpf had flashes; but is still pretty raw; but I think will play. In the secondary; I thought CJ Smith had a great spring; he’ll get a look of looks at the opposite corner of Marcus Williams; but Zach Colvin, Brendin Pierre and Jordan Champion will all be in the mix. Special teams is one of the best units in the country; Adam Keller returns after a record setting season; Ben LeCompte got better as the year went along and Michael Murphy enters his 4th year as the long snapper. Join Jeff and I as we recap yesterday and look ahead to the official offseason now with Kansas State a little over 4 months away.
Sorry for the delay on this folks; my dad is in town this weekend; got his first look inside the Fargodome today and saw another impressive showing by the Bison defense. Danny Luecke; walk-on from Fargo South; continues to impress at defensive tackle; while Zach Colvin; CJ Smith and Jordan Champion are all getting serious looks at the opposite corner from Marcus Williams. Today was also the first real flash we saw from Carey Woods; the standout from Bemidji; Woods; who had clearing house issues last fall camp and got a delayed start with practice; told me after the scrimmage that the 2 weeks of practice before last year’s title game he finally started to find his footing and feels more comfortable as the spring goes along. He will warrant our attention come this week leading into the Green and Gold game. Plenty more breakdown with Jeff and I; enjoy!
Tonight an update thru the first week of Spring football for NDSU, including a closer look at MJ Stumpf; Conor Riley; Darius Anderson and the tight end position. Also an update to the Horizon League expansion, will they come to the Dakotas? Answers to that question may come this week in my mind, enjoy!
Sorry for the lateness of this getting up folks, but Jeff and I filed this report from Dacotah Field today as NDSU opens up spring ball. We take a look at some of the players that could make an impact ranging from Dee Gray (#81), MJ Stumpf (#41 in video) and Darius Anderson (#27) Enjoy!
Hope everyone had a great holiday and spent time with family and friends, some really interesting news to share tonight on the ramblings led off by the fact that the Missouri Valley Conference has a planned visit for UMKC this week as a possible candidate to replace Creighton. No April Fools there either folks, it’s the real deal. It’s just weird to type that! But they are being considered according to the Kansas City Star; along with Valparaiso, Illinois-Chicago and Loyola(IL). More on that in the blog; along with James Madison’s chances of heading to FBS. Last and not least, the 5 players I’m watching to have a big spring as practice begins tomorrow, Jeff and I will be there to start our coverage with a new blog.
Spring football 2012 came to a conclusion this afternoon in front of a terrific crowd, 5,842 that came to it’s feet to honor the 2011 Bison before the game and then got it’s first glimpse of the team they hope to defend that championship. One thing is for certain, the defense looks like it hasn’t missed a beat since Frisco. From the defensive line, to the linebackers to the secondary, this is the most depth and speed I’ve seen from a Bison defense in my six years in Fargo. On the offensive side of things there’s not too much to brag about in a 3-0 game. Ryan Smith was definetly the bright spot, he had the two explosive plays of the game, a 28 yard reception from Brock Jensen and a 4th down trick play that went for 15 yards. Smith is the top receiver for NDSU heading into the fall, but wide receiver is still a big question for me. Tight ends also falls into that category, I was hoping to see Kevin Vaadeland, Taylor Nelson or Luke Albers step up, Vaadeland and Albers had just one catch, that’s a position that’s huge in the West Coast offense. I’m not ready to break down the offensive line just yet, it’s a position that’s fluid and going up against the best defense in FCS has to be a challenge every single day.
Two things that I was really impressed with: Special Teams and the Crowd. Ben LeCompte and Adam Keller each had solid days in their debuts at the Fargodome, each will be counted on to replace senior leaders last year. The crowd was sensational, seeing the Fargodome tailgating lots packed like it was a Saturday in October was fantastic.
Jeff will have more thoughts later, here’s our Video Blog recapping the day! Enjoy!
The 2nd scrimmage is in the books on what was a fabulous day to be outside at Dacotah Field. The 1st string offense had its issues this afternoon, never really to get on track, Brock Jensen was off on his throws, Sam Ojuri only carried it a few times before he came out of the lineup. The 1st string defense did not have any signature plays from my eyes either, Colton Heagle had a nice pass breakup, but other than that no plays that would make you say wow.
The 2nd stringers looked impressive, Esley Thorton looked pretty good, he connected on a 29-yard touchdown pass to Luke Albers, redshirt freshman tight end out of Wisconsin that Tim Polasek raved about when he signed two years ago. Alex LaVoy had a nice interception as well, showing that both LaVoys could threaten for some playing time. Plenty more comments from Jeff and I here, looking forward to the Spring Game next Saturday!
Other thoughts (from Jeff):
- Running back Matt Jones continues to impress with his ability to cut in traffic and break a tackle.
- The defense looked flat to me today. As Dom said, Jensen wasn’t real sharp today and maybe some of that had to do with going against the No. 1 defense, which has a secondary that doesn’t give up very many open receivers.
- LaVoy had an interception off a tipped pass.
- Fullback Andrew Bonnet, at 6-foot-3 and 231 pounds, looks the part. He made a nice catch out of the backfield.
- Thorton’s TD pass to Albers was a thing of beauty, putting some air into the throw so that Albers was able to shield a defensive back.
- Freshman kicker Adam Keller returned to practice after being sidelined with a hamstring injury.
- Linebacker Joey Sonnenfeld suffered a probable broken jaw. Otherwise, players came through scrimmage healthy.