There’s been a lot of buzz about North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz as we lead up to the NFL draft. Draft experts place Wentz as one of the top two QB’s in this years class along with Cal’s Jared Goff, which is surprising to some considering that he comes from the FCS level with the Bison.
However, the Bison aren’t your run-of-the-mill FCS program. North Dakota State has won the last five FCS national championships, and they’ve done so by running a pro-style offense that allows their quarterbacks plenty of freedom at the line of scrimmage. It’s that offense that makes Wentz’s QB coach so confident that he’ll make an impact at the NFL level.
“One thing we do, is we’re a pro-style offense here at NDSU,” said North Dakota State QB coach Randy Hedberg on CBS Sports Radio’s DA show. “Our guys play under center for the most part of the game. We’re in the gun sometimes on third down. But, for the most part we’re under center. We don’t look to the sidelines, we’re not looking at those pictures. Our guys get a huddle call and they make the huddle call and they get to the line of scrimmage and they make protection calls. Our quarterbacks make all of our protection calls at the line of scrimmage and I think that’s key. I think it’s big in the NFL game and it will help Carson when he gets to that level.”
Hedberg as a player made the jump from playing quarterback at Minot State College, an NAIA school, to playing in the NFL as an 8th round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in 1977. Due to that experience, he understands what Wentz is going through as he takes his game to the next level, but, he thinks Wentz is much better prepared than he was when he made the leap.
“Carson’s played at such a high level, he’s played against FBS teams, he knows the speed of the game,” said Hedberg. “For me to come from where I did to the speed of the game at the NFL level, was just a huge jump. I don’t think Carson’s going to see quite that style of jump. He’s been able to prove it at the Senior Bowl back in January. He was able to compete and he competed at a high level with a lot of great players at the Senior Bowl.”