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Back problems catch up to promising Bison tackle

Cody Fechtelkotter's promising career at North Dakota State is over. The junior defensive tackle is looking to pursue another school for academic reasons.

Cody Fechtelkotter's promising career at North Dakota State is over. The junior defensive tackle is looking to pursue another school for academic reasons.

Fechtelkotter battled chronic lower back problems since last fall. Once considered a rising star in the Bison defensive line, it kept Fechtelkotter off the field for much of the season. And when he did play, he wasn't at full strength.

"He's had them (the problems) for a while," said Bison head trainer Scott Woken.

NDSU head coach Craig Bohl said Tuesday that Fechtelkotter is looking at other options that will fit his academic interest. He missed all of spring football.

Bohl said Fechtelkotter tried resting the back injuries this summer, but that didn't appear to be working either.

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Woken said surgery was an option for Fechtelkotter. But the procedure wouldn't guarantee that it would get him back on the field.

"You do the surgery because you can't do normal things," Woken said.

Attempts to reach Fechtelkotter at his Lake Nebagamon, Wis., home were not successful.

He played extensively as a freshman, starting the last six games at noseguard. He had 19 tackles, three for lost yardage.

Last year, he saw limited action in 10 games finishing with 22 tackles, but none for lost yardage. He did force two fumbles.

His departure means the Bison will probably go to a three-man rotation at the two defensive tackle positions. Sophomore Isaac Snell and junior Mark Haffeman are the veterans.

Snell saw regular duty last year, charting 16 tackles and one quarterback sack. Haffeman had 14 tackles and one sack.

Dwight Summerville, a transfer from Holmes Community College (Miss.), will get a look at both spots. Matt Skoy, a redshirt freshman from Minneapolis, will get also get a good look.

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"We're a little thin" on depth, Bohl said.

Bison players report on Friday. Practice begins Saturday. The home opener is Aug. 30 vs. Tusculum College (Tenn.).

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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