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Kevin Schnepf, Published August 21 2013

Moorhead's Morlock looks ready to make Bison, especially on special teams

FARGO – Chase Morlock admits he was a bit stunned when he first saw the playbook for North Dakota State’s football team.

“It’s huge. It’s thick,” Morlock said. “Right away, you think, ‘Oh man, I don’t know how this is going to happen.’ ”

Well, after a couple weeks of practicing, studying the playbook at night for a couple of hours, then repeating the process the next day, Morlock – the highly recruited running back from Moorhead – is ready to make it happen if called upon.

Bison head coach Craig Bohl said it’s more than likely that Morlock will play this season. A redshirt in which he would sit out of competition for one year is not likely.

What’s likely is Morlock will play on special teams. And he will be called upon if needed as a running back.

“We’ve got quite a bit of depth at running back,” Bohl said, referring to returning regulars Sam Ojuri and John Crockett and backups Derrick Lang and Darius Anderson. “I don’t know if he is in that top three right now. But quite frankly, he’s probably capable of going out there and competing.”

For Bohl, that’s comforting – especially knowing the possibility of injury.

“Typically, sometime by the middle of the season, we get nicked up at running back,” Bohl said. “We always play with at least two running backs.”

The 6-foot, 200-pound Morlock said he’s willing to do whatever the coaches ask of him.

“If they need me to play, I will be ready to go,” Morlock said.

There certainly has been an adjustment since his senior year at Moorhead High School, where he rushed for 1,820 yards and scored 30 touchdowns – averaging 11.8 yards per carry.

“The tempo of the game is much faster,” Morlock said. “Everybody is running around. It’s fast but I’m getting used to it.”

Bohl said the big challenge for freshmen like Morlock is getting adjusted to all the hype surrounding two straight FCS national championships.

“They come in here and think everything is great,” Bohl said. “Then they have a tendency to think, ‘Well, this is just supposed to happen. Maybe I don’t have to reach down deep and do all the little things.’ That’s a concern.”

Maybe not for Morlock.

“I’m just trying to finish up everything, fine-tune everything and keep grinding through practice,” Morlock said. “I feel like I really got a hold of the plays now.”

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549