CSR Non-Conference Preview: North Dakota St.

Cyclone Sports Report begins its non-conference preview by talking with North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl.

Cyclone Sports Report: What are you expecting from Nick Mertens who started all eleven games at quarterback last year?

Craig Bohl: He had a good spring but he definitely needs to improve and he knows that. The key is him cutting down on his turnovers as his 15 interceptions were too much last year.

CSR: The offense loses Tyler Roehl who was your leading rusher last season and who had 13 touchdowns. Is Pat Paschall his main replacement at running back?

CB: Yes, he played well the last couple of years backing up Roehl. He will have more carries so he needs to show better endurance. In an offense that features a tailback it will still be somewhat by committee. D.J. McNorton has done some good things and Matt Voigtlander will also see time at running back.

CSR: You lose almost your entire wide receiver depth from last season. What are your plans in the passing game?

CB: Yeah, none of our returning wide receivers had a significant impact last year. We have some junior college players coming in that could see time there but overall we are not as deep at wide receiver as we have been in the past. It's really an open competition right now.

CSR: It seems that your offensive line play should be relatively solid this year?

CB: We feel pretty good about them because we have Keith Buckman and Gerry Ebel who are two senior tackles that will be anchoring the line play. We're not real deep there but we feel pretty solid about our offensive line.

CSR: Who are some of the key players on your defense for the upcoming season?

CB: Defensive tackles Mike Fairbairn and Matt Gratzek should hold things down on the defensive line and Tyler Henry has done a great job at linebacker. Kyle Belmont is back at strong safety after missing all of last year and Richard Bowman returns as our top cornerback.

CSR: What is your main approach to the Iowa State game coming up in two weeks?

CB: I'm just excited about getting to play a team like Iowa State as we know they have challenged for the Big 12 North over the last decade. They have a new coach and a lot of exciting things going on so we are anticipating a real tough game in Ames. I just hope we play well and that we can improve off what happens with this game since it's the first game of the year.

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