HED: Coordinating A Winner
When you look through the media, the focal point of the Bison coaching staff is Craig Bohl. Who can blame the media for putting the head coach in the limelight considering he is credited with the wins and losses, the talent of the recruiting class, the overall impression of the football team and how good he looks in a tailored suit and shiny bald head.
Coach Bohl is one of the top coaches in all of college football and his resume will show just that, but he will be the first one to pass along credit to his assistant coaches. Some head coaches have to micromanage the football team they are in charge of, but Coach Bohl does the exact opposite. He lets his coaches do what they do best, coach the players. Fortunately for Coach Bohl and the Bison, the assistant coaches on the staff are phenomenal at what they do.
If I were to write about all of the coaches on the staff I would take up much more of the magazine than what Drago and the rest of the Bison Illustrated team have asked me to write, so let’s focus in on the coordinators.
On the offensive side of the ball, Coach Brent Vigen has been crucial in the success of this offense since taking over as Passing Game Coordinator in 2005 and then Offensive Coordinator in 2007. I had the great privilege of playing under Coach Vigen’s tutelage for four years, and I could not have asked for a better coach. The Power West Coast Offense that NDSU runs is very complex and is tweaked a little each week depending on the opponent on the other side of the ball. Having someone with the knowledge possessed by Coach Vigen is critical to each weeks gameplan. Although, it may look like week in and week out the offense is running very similar plays, there are differences from formations, shifts, personnel and blocking schemes that make this offense keep defensive coordinators on their toes.
Coach Vigen is a student of the game, and learns from experience, other coaches and also from the players on the field. Brock Jensen can see things from the line of scrimmage that cannot be seen up in the booth. He also has played in the system long enough to know what plays he likes, which ones he is comfortable with and offers suggestions in certain gameplans. As a player, when your input is not only asked for, but also implemented, you want to work that much harder to know the game inside and out.
Moving to the defensive side of the ball, the man calling the shots is Coach Chris Klieman. In the last handful of years there have been several different faces calling the signals on defense, and each brought their own new flavor to a proven Tampa-2 Defense. Coach Klieman has a ton of experience in the MVFC not only as a coach, but also as a player. When he came to NDSU from UNI, the Bison knew they were adding a great coach.
Coach Kliemann does a great job of emphasizing the strengths of the Bison defense, and stressing a fundamentally sound team strategy. It all starts with the defensive line getting to their assigned gaps, and funnels all the way to the secondary’s responsibilities that makes the defense as great as they are. He puts the defense in position to make plays and the players know they can play fast because the defensive call is going to put them in a position to be successful. With the amount of experience Coach Klieman has, the opposing offensive coordinators know they are not only in a tough battle against the guys on the field, but also the man calling the shots.
As Bison fans, we should be thankful for the great coordinators that we have, and hope like heck that no one comes and steals them away.Here’s to another great season of Bison football, and to knowing that all of us fans can sit back and realize we have some of the best coordinators in college football. GO BISON!