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Jeff Kolpack, Published July 30 2013

Young Coyotes looking to make strides in MVFC

FARGO – It wasn’t long after North Dakota State thoroughly defeated the University of South Dakota last fall when Coyotes head coach Joe Glenn opened his post-game comments with the following theme: his program has some catching up to do.

Asked this week on the progress of building his program since the Bison game, Glenn said the first step was natural.

“Just birthdays more than anything,” he said, referring to a young team last season. “We played a lot of young guys and you pay for experience. We had a lot of guys on the field who hadn’t played college football.”

One that did, outside linebacker Tyler Starr, returns for his senior season as one of the best in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. He had 74 tackles and four quarterback sacks and enters this season third on the all-time USD list with 18 sacks.

“He can play the game and probably should play the game at the next level,” Glenn said. “He’s a terrific athlete.”

Another terrific athlete in the eyes of Glenn is junior quarterback Josh Vander Maten, who returns with a more command of the Coyote offense. Vander Maten ran a sub 4.4-second 40-yard dash.

His passing needs to improve from last year where he completed 151 of 268 passes for 56 percent. He had seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Running back Jasper Sanders, who started one game last year and was expected to be the No. 1 back this season, has a cast on his hand as the result of an off-season accident. If he can’t go, Glenn said he’s high on two freshman running backs: Jordan Roberts, the Wyoming prep Player of the Year in 2011 and Trevor Bouma, the second leading prep rusher in the state of Iowa in 2011.

“They brought a real toughness to our running game in the spring,” Glenn said.

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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia