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.
Nearing playoffs, what’s the biggest key to success?
Swany: Staying healthy and not beating ourselves. The Bison are playing better than anybody else in the FCS right now, and better than a majority of teams in the FBS. We’re in the driver’s seat for a top seed and Dome-field advantage throughout the playoffs. It will take a superior performance for anybody to beat us at home. I can’t see this team losing at home barring several key injuries and big mistakes. Locking up that home field advantage is critical.
Walker: The biggest key in my mind is to keep executing on the play calls every snap. The coaching staff has done a great job putting the players in positions to succeed, and the game-plans have been executed. If we keep winning the turnover battle, NDSU is going to be a tough team to play.
Is there any potential for a player to break any records this season?
Swany: Steve’s right to a certain extent. Players and coaches don’t care about stats and records. That’s never been the “Bison Way.” With that said, records are fun for fans and the talking heads. This year’s defense has the potential to set some team records and make an argument that they’re the best in school history. But, when it comes to brass tax, there’s only one record that really matters – tying the three other teams in school history with 14 wins. And like those three teams (‘88, ‘90, and ‘11) raise a banner to the Fargodome rafters.
Walker: There is always that chance, as records are set to be broken. But if you ask any player in the locker room about individual stats and records, I can GUARANTEE you that they don’t care. The only records to be broken that matter as a player are winning another conference championship, and making another playoff run.
The NDSU Football Program is among the best in the US, but are there any improvements the team can make?
Swany: This team is hitting on all cylinders right now in every phase of the game. Our offense is on the verge, arguably, of being the most prolific in school history with all due respect to those great option teams of the 1980s. Likewise, the defense and special teams have been superb. Not withstanding, we haven’t won a damn thing yet. Like Mr. Walker said, any coach or player will tell you we must improve every day, week-after-week, if we want to achieve our goal of winning a championship. If we don’t, we’ll get beat, plain and simple.
Walker: Your good games are never as good as they seem, and the bad games are never as bad as they seem. That being said, as a whole… What needs to be better? The offense is clicking and not turning the ball over, the defense is dominant, and special teams are getting the hidden yards needed to turn the field in favor of the Bison! You can always improve on the little things, otherwise why play the game?