We see that you have javascript disabled. Please enable javascript and refresh the page to continue reading local news. If you feel you have received this message in error, please contact the customer support team at 1-833-248-7801.

Sponsored By

Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Bison junior Mason Miller (so far) the heir apparent to Volson at right tackle

With so many veterans returning on the NDSU offensive line, Ada's Mason Miller not taking the job for granted

North Dakota State's Mason Miller (73) blocks for quarterback Cam Miller against Houston Sam State on Sunday, May 2, 2021, during the FCS quarterfinals at the Bowers Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.
David Samson/The Forum
We are part of The Trust Project.

FARGO — The starting right tackle position for the North Dakota State football team looks to be headed Mason Miller’s way. The junior from Ada, Minn., has been working with the No. 1 unit since practice began almost two weeks ago.

But talk to Miller about job security and it’s as if there isn’t a whole lot. That’s the state of the Bison offensive line, which returns nine of its top 10 players from a year ago. Translation: The starters would do well not to slack.

“They’ll play the best 11, it doesn't matter if you’re a new guy or a guy who has been here for six years,” Miller said. “It’s really fun to see that competition throughout the entire program.”

As of Monday, anyway, it’s Miller who looks to be on target to replace the one departed member of the line in Cordell Volson. The fourth-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, Volson has been getting some good early reviews in his first NFL camp.

In Fargo, however, Cordell is no longer there.


“Cordell was a tremendous player, he helped me out more than words can ever describe,” Miller said. “He’s almost like a big brother to me. But it’s time for guys like myself, Jake Rock or Hunter Poncius to step up and make our own legacy here. Cordell is gone. Cordell is not coming back so it’s time for us to make our name here.”

The 6-foot-6, 296-pound Miller played in all 15 games a year ago. He started on the field goal and extra-points special teams unit.

It remains to be seen how deep the Bison will go on the offensive line this season, with offensive line coach Dan Larson saying the nine returning players are all in the mix. Moreover, NDSU has not been shy about rotating players at different positions.

North Dakota State travels to Indiana State Saturday for the first time in five years.
Bison formation that had four fullbacks in the game at one time created social media buzz
Senior Bison captain has second surgery to address an ankle injury from last December
Bison's head football coach, Matt Entz, talks to the press about the team's win against Youngstown State and the upcoming game against Indiana State.
The top five remain unchanged after this Saturday's games
Kindred Vikings junior Riley Sunram is garnering heavy interest from multiple NCAA Division I football programs.
A big second half lifted North Dakota State to a big win over the Leathernecks on Sunday.
Former North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson scored a rushing TD for his first NFL touchdown.
The InForum sports team breaks down the North Dakota State Bison vs. Youngstown State Penguins.
NDSU scored 21 points in the first half to fuel a Missouri Valley Football Conference home victory against the Youngstown State Penguins.
Penguins running back Jaleel McLaughlin rushed for 150 yards and also caught a touchdown against NDSU on Saturday at the Fargodome.
When Mel Kiper Jr. takes notice, the NFL will also take notice of the NDSU running back

For instance, senior center Jalen Sundell has played guard in practice, which would put junior Brandon Westberg as the starting center. All-American left tackle Cody Mauch has played some at guard, while guard Grey Zabel has seen some plays this month at tackle. Miller has played a bit at left tackle, also.

“From our standpoint we’re still trying to challenge those guys at certain spots and we’re trying to create depth,” Larson said. “We may have nine guys returning but can we create more depth by those guys playing multiple positions?”

Last year, the Bison mostly rotated between six and seven players.

“We have nine guys coming back with experience in our playbook who have played,” Larson said. “But we want nine guys who are reaching the expectations that we’re looking for. We have nine guys who we believe know the playbook and know what it’s like to play.”

Seniors Nash Jensen and Jake Kubas are the returning starting guards at the left and right side respectively. Miller calls it more of a “security blanket” to have options up front with the versatile Volson being gone.


“We have guys with the mentality that Cordell played with,” Larson said. “Cordell had a confidence that was off the charts on every single play.”

It’s that type of confidence that NDSU has hopes with Miller.

“Mason is a guy we’re going to have to rely on,” Larson said. “He’s jumped in and played a lot of big games so far in his two years here and we have high expectations for him. He’s got high expectations for himself and he’ll be as good as he wants to be.”

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.
What to read next
Bison football injuries force younger players to step up. UND looks to stay in command on the road. Class A golf wraps round one at State Tournament.
Concordia's Landon Olson shot a 1-under 71 in Monday's final round of the MIAC Men's Championship and earned a tie for eighth place at the Bunker Hills Golf Club.
The Fighting Hawks junior forward made a convincing case to stay in the lineup during Saturday's exhibition game against Manitoba.
The Minnesota Gophers trailed for the first time this season, but their strength on defense came through as offense from defensemen Mike Koster and Brock Faber spurred a rally and kept their record unblemished.