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NDSU names Hotchkiss as the top backup to Stick at quarterback

North Dakota State University quarterback Holden Hotchkiss fires a pass during Bison football practice. David Samson / Forum News Service1 / 4
North Dakota State University quarterback Holden Hotchkiss runs through drills during Bison football practice. David Samson / Forum News Service2 / 4
North Dakota State University quarterback Holden Hotchkiss fires a pass during Bison football practice. David Samson / Forum News Service3 / 4
North Dakota State University quarterback Holden Hotchkiss (15) takes a break with teammate Easton Stick during Bison football practice. David Samson / Forum News Service4 / 4

FARGO—It was perhaps the quietest fall football camp for North Dakota State in several years, with not much movement in either the depth chart or the serious injury front. On Monday, Aug. 27, game week on campus officially started.

About the only news of significance from head coach Chris Klieman's first Monday press conference was the naming of the No. 2 quarterback behind Easton Stick. Redshirt freshman Holden Hotchkiss won the job, at least for this week, over redshirt freshman Noah Sanders.

"Holden has earned that right to be the backup right now," Klieman said. "We'll still continue to evaluate the position as we move forward with Noah and Trey (Lance). They've done some really nice things, but I think Holden's overall body of work throughout the month of August ... he's done a really nice job of managing the team and understanding our scheme and doing what is asked of him to be successful."

The 6-foot-3, 196-pound Hotchkiss, from Lakeland, Fla., and the 6-3, 216-pound Sanders, from Lakeville, Minn., had been in competition for the role since spring football. NDSU opens its season at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, against Cal Poly at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.

NDSU's starters have remained relatively unchanged since practice started Aug. 2. Junior Ben Ellefson was listed as the starter at tight end ahead of senior Nate Jenson on Monday, although the Bison plan on using at least four tight ends at various times.

Redshirt freshman Andy Voyen from Stillwater, Minn., moved into the No. 2 slot at receiver behind senior Dallas Freeman. That was a spot previously held by junior Dimitri Williams, who was moved to running back.

Klieman said the switch was the result of discussions between Williams and the coaching staff.

"It's something where he really wants the opportunity to try," Klieman said. "We're going to have a bunch of guys graduate this year, so it's still a work in progress. He's still playing both positions in practice."

The new NCAA redshirt rule that allows true freshmen to play four games without losing a year of eligibility could figure into this equation. That rule also includes players like Williams, who played as a true freshman.

Williams could play four games this season and still return next year as a junior. It's a crowded backfield this year anyway with seniors Bruce Anderson and Lance Dunn and junior Ty Brooks as the top three.

As for Voyen, it appears he's taken advantage of a foot injury to redshirt freshman receiver Christian Watson. Klieman said he's hopeful Watson can return this week and he's listed as a game-time decision.

"We're still pushing to see if Christian can play on Saturday, but if not, Andy will be ready to go," Klieman said.

SEASON OPENER

Who: Cal Poly at NDSU

When: 2:30 p.m., Saturday

Where: Fargodome

TV: KVLY-NBC ND / ESPN+

Radio: 1660-AM, 107.9-FM, 92.7-FM

Jeff Kolpack

Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at www.bisonmedia.areavoices.com. On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.

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