When we talked at this time last year, you really touched on Cam’s resiliency that he showed in his freshman season. Then, last year, after losing the job to Quincy and coming back to win a national championship, I would say that resiliency was on full display. I’d be interested to hear from you what you saw out of your young quarterback in the second season with the program.
The thing I saw from Cam was that he never really sulked. I’m sure he was frustrated, but he didn’t show that on the outside. I think Quincy played well those first seven games before he got banged up a bit. Cam came in against Missouri State and did a great job and just kept rolling from there. I think that’s a testament to Cam and his background and his ability to bounce back and still maintain his attitude and his enjoyment of the game. I think that was very evident during the course of the season.
Is that even keel ability something you noticed when you were recruiting him or did that kind of exceed your expectation?
It probably exceeded my expectations a little bit. But, you know, Cam comes from a very good high school program where his dad was the head coach. So, I’m sure his dad was not easy on him. I’m sure he tested him quite a bit during his high school career. He was a very good three-sport athlete. He played baseball, basketball and football and excelled in all three of those. We were fortunate to get him to come to NDSU because he had opportunities to go other places. We just felt that it was a good fit for us because of his temperament and his ability and his competitiveness.
And how have you seen him continue to progress as he has come into this year with his footing finally underneath him?
I think the biggest thing I’ve seen from Cam is his leadership and his ability to buy into what we’re doing. He’s really controlling our offense and our guys really believe in him. And the number one thing is that he hangs out with all linemen. I think that’s the biggest thing as a quarterback. He’s got those big guys and our receivers in his corner.
Randy Hedberg’s Resume
Minot State – Head Coach
Central Missouri – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks and Receivers
St. Cloud State – Head Coach
Southern Illinois – Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
North Dakota State – Quarterbacks
North Dakota State – Associate Head Coach/Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks
A lot has been made about the loss of Watson and Babicz. As the passing game coordinator, how do you see NDSU filling those losses?
I think Phoenix Sproles will take a bigger part of our passing game. DJ Hart will fill in a little bit where Christian was last season. After that, we still have RaJa Nelson, Braylon Henderson and Jake Lippe—we missed him with an injury at the end of last season but he has come back and is doing very well.
A big part of what we do revolves around our tight ends and a guy who hasn’t gotten a lot of time in previous years, because of Josh Babicz and Noah Gindorff, but is a tremendous athlete is Joe Stoffel.
I keep hearing DJ Hart’s name brought up as someone to watch. For those of us that have yet to see him play much, what should we know about his game?
First of all, he’s got great speed. He doesn’t have the size Christian has, but he does have good speed. He’s probably one of the faster guys on our team.
This is very early in fall camp, but you’ve been with the program for a long time. How is this team different from other teams you have been around at NDSU?
We probably have more depth throughout our team than we’ve had in previous years. Some of that has to do with COVID. Because of it, a lot of guys got playing time earlier than they would have during that spring season and they all got a lot of practice time.
Do you anticipate things opening up now that Cam has some more experience?
I think so. As a play caller, and previously, when I was calling plays, the more you feel comfortable with a quarterback making good decisions, the easier it is to call plays. And I think all of our confidence has increased with Cam making the right decisions.
Is there anything you want to say to our readers that we maybe haven’t touched on?
Well, personally, I feel very fortunate to be coaching at NDSU and having this opportunity because there aren’t a lot of places like NDSU football that really have the fan support that we have. It’s a pretty special place. I think you can see that by looking at the facilities that are coming up. It’s a pretty neat deal.