Josh Swanson knows sports. During his time at NDSU, he was the sports editor of NDSU’s student newspaper, “The Spectrum,” and writes a monthly column for Bison Illustrated called “Swany Says.”
Steve Walker was the starting quarterback for the Bison, from 2004 to 2007. During his time, he was a finalist for The Sports Network Walter Payton award, was recently named to the All-Time Great West Football Team and is the color analyst during football games this year for KFGO Radio.
If the Bison defense and the Bison offense switched roles for the day, who would have more success and why?
Swany: Whichever side has Marcus Williams! Is there anything that guy can’t do on a football field? He’s deserving of the Buck Buchanan Award, hands down. To answer the question, this would be an interesting matchup. Each position, from left guard to the sam linebacker, is so specialized. Our game plan is predicated on each guy doing his assignment so much so that it would be chaos if our offense and defense switched roles. You hear our coaches talking about assignment football, and Steve talking about executing, all the time. That’s exactly what they’re talking about.
Walker: “If this were to happen the only team that would have success would be the opposition. Both scheme’s on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball are very elaborate that require A LOT of practice and study. Athleticism can take you so far, but without a single practice this would get ugly quick.”
After working hard over the past few months, how do you think the players and coaches are handling themselves at this point in the season?
Swany: If there’s one word that sums up this team, it’s professional and businesslike. Okay, that’s two words, but this team knows how to handle it’s business. That’s a trademark of a Craig Bohl coached football team. From top to bottom, from Coach to the student managers, this team has withstood and lived up to the pressures they’ve faced this season. They’ve done so with class, have done so in the face of adversity, and are poised to do great things in December and January.
Walker: “A college football season is very long and challenging both as players and coaches. To this point, both the offense and defense have faced some adversity and have handled themselves very well. The coaching staff on both sides of the ball have shown that they can make adjustments week to week and series to series, and are going to continue to strive to put together the best game plans possible. Physical mistakes are going to happen in this game and can be forgiven if they are corrected. It is the mental mistakes at this point of the season that are not acceptable. It is good to see there haven’t been many mental mistakes.”
Who do you think gets the team the most riled up: Their fellow teammates, coaches or fans?
Swany: While our fans certainly help and create an atmosphere conducive to success, the players feed off each other. They play for each other. They play for everyone that’s ever been part of the program. We all support and believe in this team. But, as has always been the case with Bison Football, it comes down to the guys in that locker room, to the brotherhood. They’d run through a brick wall for each other if they needed to, literally. If you think they need any extra motivation, you’re crazy!
Walker: “Only those that are in the locker room influence this team. As players you hear what fans have to say, but they are not part of the “family” in the locker room and those opinions do not matter. Both players and coaches motivate throughout a season, and both have influence depending on the situation. But when a teammate tells you something (whether good or bad), that seems to carry more weight than hearing it from a coach.”