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Jeff Kolpack, Published April 25 2013

Bison football dealing with injuries that carried over from last year

FARGO – There will be green jerseys and there will be gold jerseys, but the annual North Dakota State spring football game will not be the traditional Green vs. Gold. It will be offense vs. defense.

It may not sound as confrontational as the usual format that splits the two teams equally. The fact is, head coach Craig Bohl says, there are just not enough healthy players to make it worthwhile for the 1 p.m. Saturday kickoff at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.

“The depth of our team is such that I think it would be pretty counterproductive to be splitting up the squads,” he said. “Now you would have guys potentially playing different positions. We still need to evaluate guys.”

A rash of injuries from last season carried over to spring ball. Eight starters will miss all 15 workouts because they are rehabilitating various ailments. They are: nose guard Leevon Perry (knee), defensive tackle Ryan Drevlow (shoulder), wide receiver Ryan Smith (knee), running back John Crockett (wrist), safety Colten Heagle (knee), offensive guard Tyler Gimmestad (knee), linebacker Travis Beck (shoulder) and tight end Kevin Vaadeland (shoulder).

Moreover, defensive end Cole Jirik, receiver Trevor Gebhart, cornerback Zach Colvin, running back Darius Anderson, defensive tackle Austin Farnlof and center Jesse Hinz have been sidelined.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Bohl said, “but that’s what you get when you play 30 games in two years, so we’re feeling the effects of it. Most of those guys will be back, but we’re certainly more nicked up now than I can ever remember.”

About the only player that appears out for next fall is Farnlof, a promising redshirt freshman who suffered an ACL tear during practice.

Bohl said quarterbacks Brock Jensen and Carson Wentz will see plenty of snaps, although both will wear red jerseys, meaning they can’t be tackled. But don’t look for some of the more experienced players, like four-year starters Marcus Williams and Billy Turner, to play all afternoon.

“We really need to evaluate where we are at the corner position, find out who the next-best corner is,” Bohl said. “The same thing at wide receiver.”

Senior Brendin Pierre, sophomore C.J. Smith, sophomore Jordan Champion and the junior Colvin are battling for position on the depth chart at cornerback.

With Smith out, vying for spots in the wide receiver rotation opposite Zach Vraa are junior Nate Moody, senior Cooper Wahlo and freshmen Carey Woods, Eric Perkins and Demetrius Gray. Freshman DeSean Warren is sitting out spring to rehabilitate a knee injury.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia