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Jeff Kolpack, Published April 10 2012

Bison football's LaVoy switching sides on the line

FARGO – The path to the North Dakota State football starting lineup was long and twisting for Anthony LaVoy. But this week, he arrived.

The junior from Mahnomen, Minn., has taken over the No. 1 spot at left guard. A transfer from Division II Bemidji State (Minn.) two years ago, he saw limited action as a backup on the Bison defensive line last year. LaVoy was moved to the offensive line during winter workouts.

“By no means does he have the thing locked down,” said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl. “But he had a good offseason. We moved him over there and he’s been moving around pretty good in our offseason drills. He’s strong.”

Also making a depth chart move was junior receiver Cooper Wahlo Jr., who took over a No. 1 spot opposite of starting receiver Ryan Smith. Like LaVoy, Wahlo’s path took some time, also.

Never short on physical ability – he runs a sub 4.4-second 40-yard dash – his improvement late last season during NDSU’s playoff run has carried over to the spring, Bohl said.

“He’s playing with more confidence now,” Bohl said. “He was always a guy who was a ‘potential guy’, but now he’s taking his physical skills and turning into a receiver where he understands the routes and going up for the football.”

Wahlo had just three receptions last year for 24 yards. He had two carries on receiver end-around plays 27 yards in the postseason.

He moved ahead of Zach Vraa. Sophomore receiver Trevor Gebhart remained in the two-deep chart at a position where player rotation is a constant.

The 6-foot-4, 284-pound LaVoy is in a battle with a former high school teammate Ty Beckius. Redshirt freshman Josh Colville was also slotted to be part of the mix until he was sidelined with an injury.

Bohl said freshman cornerbacks C.J. Smith and Jordan Champion have moved into backup spots ahead of freshman Zach Colvin behind starters Marcus Williams and Brendin Pierre. Senior cornerback Aireal Boyd was suspended for the rest of spring practice to concentrate on academics, Bohl said.

“No violation of team rules or anything. He just needs more time in the classroom,” Bohl said.

Bohl said he doesn’t expect junior linebacker Don Carter, who has missed all spring for academic reasons, to return to the team. Carter played in 13 games as a true freshman, mostly on special teams. He played sparingly in 10 games last season.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia