Coach Bohl and the Bison will be entering into the 2013 football season with the biggest target on their back in school history. In 2012, the target was big after the Bison won their first Division 1 FCS National Championship the year before. It is now 2013 and the target is that much bigger after winning back to back national titles.
What does that mean to this year’s version of the Thundering Herd? Week in and week out they will be getting their opponents best shot and nothing will be held back. Good news for the Bison and Bison Nation is that the Bison have one of, if not the best, strength and conditioning coaches in all of college football. Coach Jim Kramer has had these young men all winter, spring and summer getting ready for another tough-nosed football season. Ask any former or current player on the roster what they think of Coach Jim Kramer, and there will be anything said between he is “the best coach ever” to “he is completely crazy!”
Being “completely crazy” is meant to be taken in a good way, Coach Kramer, so before you read this and tell me to start running patterns, hear me out. NDSU has become nothing short of dominant in the second half of football games. This has a lot to do with the half time adjustments that the coaching staff has a knack for, but watching a defensive lineman get driven back five yards into the linebackers is coached during summer conditioning. No air conditioning allowed in the weight room and conditioning training outdoors in the hot summer heat are the key ingredient behind the team’s motto of “Start Strong and Finish Stronger.” Hats off to Coach Kramer and his staff!
The 2013 season is going to be a very exciting year to watch Bison football with all of the returning talent. In every aspect of the game, the Bison return most of last year’s National Championship team which adds up to a lot of experience in meaningful football games. Rather than thinking of assignments and reading defenses, the Bison are going to be able to play fast and play hard simply because most everyone on the field has been there dozens of times over the past four seasons.
You hear the phrase “the game slows down” and as a former player, when the game slows down for you is when you are at your best. Everyone knows the game doesn’t actually slow down, but when mentally things slow down in a player’s mind great things happen. When Billy Turner lines up against a 4-3 defense with a blitz coming from the strong side, he knows exactly what the man he is responsible for blocking is going to do. When Grant Olson sees an offense start running an inside trap, he knows what the pulling guard is doing before getting blocked. This doesn’t happen over-night, and it doesn’t happen by just watching film. It comes from game experience and the 2013 Bison have a TON of this.
With the combination of toughness, togetherness and experience mixed together, the 2013 Bison are looking like an early season favorite to make a great run in the MVFC and a familiar road into the FCS Playoffs. Fall camp is just about to get under way and leaders are going to emerge in the meeting rooms, in the locker room, in the huddle, and on the field. Here are a few players that I am very excited to watch for:
Offensive MVP = Brock Jenson. Brock is poised for a great senior year and making it his best as a Bison. He has control of the offense, respect from his teammates, and is flat out a WINNER.
Defensive MVP = Colton Heagle. With a surgically enhanced knee Colton is going to have a big come-back year. The Bison Defense was spectacular the past few years and Colton will be a big reason why the 2013 Bison Defense will be dominant again.
Game-Changer = Marcus Williams. He is good… real good! Why would anyone throw at Marcus? Why would anyone kick to Marcus? Watching number 1 is very fun and I expect more great things from him this year.
Steve Walker is the former quarterback for the Bison. He holds school records for pass attempts in a game, pass completion percentage, yards gained passing in a game, touchdown passes in a single game and consecutive passes without an interception.