Van Dellen ready to show he can factor into future Bison quarterback plans
FARGO-The spring football quarterback depth chart at North Dakota State was over before it started. Easton Stick is the returning starter, senior Cole Davis is the veteran backup and redshirt freshman Henry Van Dellen is the third stringer.Stick ...
FARGO-The spring football quarterback depth chart at North Dakota State was over before it started. Easton Stick is the returning starter, senior Cole Davis is the veteran backup and redshirt freshman Henry Van Dellen is the third stringer.
Stick is 20-2 as a starter, although NDSU would like to see his passing game improve. Davis will enter his fifth year in the program and the Bison coaches know they have a solid No. 2 guy. Sophomore James Hendricks, a quarterback his first two years at NDSU, moved to strong safety.
So the question with Van Dellen over the next month is pretty basic: Will he show the potential to someday be a starting quarterback in the Missouri Valley Football Conference?
"I was a little nervous yesterday before spring ball started," Van Dellen said, "But I think it's going to be a good thing. Any kind of pressure is going to push me so I'm excited to see what happens in the spring."
NDSU began spring drills Wednesday, March 22, with a 7 a.m. practice at its indoor bubble over Dacotah Field. Van Dellen set his alarm for 5:30 a.m. but was up well before that. The first day of practice represented another step of sorts for him-no longer is he a redshirt who isn't part of preparing to play on Saturdays.
He's got the size at 6-foot-4 and 224 pounds and he has the prep statistics of a bonafide Division I FCS prospect. He threw for 4,039 yards and 40 touchdowns as a three-year starter at Providence Academy in the Twin Cities.
It was also a much more simplified system at Providence, he said. The passing routes were basic and there were not many shifts and formations, meaning there has been a whole lot of learning this past year.
"First of all, I need to get a better understanding of the playbook," Van Dellen said. "I can study it as much as I want off the field but actually using the plays and getting some muscle memory down makes it more comfortable. That's probably the biggest thing."
He'll get plenty of snaps to do so, said head coach Chris Klieman. With NDSU's high-tempo practice system, there won't be much in the line of standing around on the sideline and the reality is it's a big spring for Van Dellen in terms of what he can do at the college level. NDSU has quarterback recruits Holden Hotchkiss and Noah Sanders expected to enroll next fall, and spring ball is a chance for Van Dellen to get a leg up on the newcomers.
"We need to find out with two quarterbacks coming in the fall what he can do," Klieman said, "What his strengths are and what his weaknesses are."
Van Dellen said Wednesday's practice started out well for him and then got a little bumpy.
"Because I was starting to make some reads I haven't made in awhile," he said. "A big thing for me to work on is when things like that happen to keep moving forward because I'm going to have to hear the next play, go in the huddle and I can't be sitting there thinking what I did wrong. Just focus on what I can do right going forward and learn from the mistakes that I made."
That is the message Stick is sending to Van Dellen: If you make a mistake, watch it on film and learn from it.
"We've all been there," Stick said, "So hopefully we can be good resources for him."