Veteran group of Offensive Linemen leading the charge for Bison Football

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 9:50 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Experience is one of the most valuable qualities you can have in a college football player, and one particular position group is bringing plenty of that to the table for North Dakota State. The Offensive Line, or the Rams as they have been collectively named, will be bringing back four of their starting five players from last season, and seven of them played in 10 or more games last year. A level of experience you rarely see on the same line at the college level.

“I think that puts us really far ahead of the game, just having that experience.” said Junior Mason Miller. “We have eight or nine guys that have started a game here. Just having that experience and knowing what to expect in that regard is really big for us.”

“Being in the Missouri Valley, we’re a run-heavy offense.” said his classmate Jake Rock. “Having guys like Nash (Jensen) and Cody (Mauch) return. Jalen (Sundell), Jake Kubas... Having four or five starters return is huge to how we’re going to be successful next year in the run game.”

With all that time playing next to each other comes two more big intangibles, Chemistry and Cohesiveness. Two factors that are crucial for an offensive line.

“If one piece is missing it’s not going to work.” said Rock. “When all five guys are on the same wave length and think the same knowing what they have to do each play, it’s going to be very beneficial.”

“It’s like the wave in the ocean we all have to move together.” Miller added, “If one guy moves the wrong way he messes up everyone else, so we all have to be in sync and flow together.”

The Rams now get to spend their spring working on their craft so they can prepare to defend their title in the fall. For some, this is their first normal taste of spring ball due to the COVID Pandemic.

“That’s an issue that we’re having to work through in terms of catching guys up.” said their Offensive Line Coach Dan Larson. “Normally guys have so many reps by the time they get here because of double-repping, because of the spring and the fall. So now to get a true off-season development, coach Kramer in the weight room, out guys out in the fall, that’s huge for us to finally have one of those after not having one for two years.”

Rock is relishing his first chance of Spring Ball, saying that “It’s nice to have this time to work on skills that maybe in the fall I wasn’t too confident on, things that Coach Larson wants me to work on.”

Miller is also enjoying the early morning Spring practices: “I’m having a lot of fun. You know, it’s kind of messed up but I kind of like waking up a little bit earlier and getting to practice. It’s just more time to hang out with your friends. You can look at it that way.”

The game of football is won in the trenches, and this group of big guys up front are hoping their wealth of experience gives them that extra push.

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