Bison Illustrated September 2022

Page 1


2022 Football Preview Meet The Team Looking T o G o B a c k-T o - B a c k


Interviews With Matt Entz Tyler Roehl David Braun Randy Hedberg Lewis Walker Cam Miller Phoenix Sproles and more!

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2022 FOOTBALL PREVIEW 61 Q&A With Women’s Volleyball Head 22 Head Coach Matt Entz 28 Associate Head Coach Rand Hedberg 32 Defensive Coordinator David Braun 34 Offensive Coordinator Tyler Roehl

Coach Jennifer Lopez

65 Q&A With Head Women’s Soccer Coach Mike Reagan

10 Editor’s Note 76 Team Makers 78 Swany Says

68 Q&A With Men’s Head Golf Coach Steve Kennedy

71 Q&A Women’s Head Golf Coach Matt Johnson

36 Cornerbacks Coach Lewis Walker 40 The Quarterbacks 42 The Playmakers 44 The Deepest Backfield in the Country 46 The Rams 50 The Crew Chiefs 52 The First Line of Defense 54 The Headhunters 56 The Shutdown Secondary







Fall is Here


Fall is here and I couldn’t be more excited for my favorite sport. Whether you’re a high school, NFL or die-hard Bison football fan, this is an undoubtedly great time of year. Each team, at all levels, is just beginning to write its stories. There

FROM THE EDITOR will be ups, downs and everything in between. Just make sure not to blink because the season will have passed sooner than you’ll think possible. Next thing you know, we’ll be stuck waiting all winter, spring and summer for kickoff. This year’s NDSU squad brings plenty to be excited about. • There’s the battle-tested returning national champion quarterback. • The extremely deep backfield is headed

• • • •

• •

by a bruising Walter Payton Award watchlist fullback. An experienced and dominant offensive line. A tight-end room led by an NFL-caliber player. A receiver room that is sure to surprise. A deep rotation at the defensive line with a handful of potential AllAmericans. Agile, adept and athletic linebackers. And a secondary that might be the strongest position group on the team.

And on top of the marquee names, there is a host of unproven talents sure to make a splash for your favorite team this fall. Get ready for the kickoff!

SEPTEMBER 2022 | VOLUME 17 ISSUE 3 Bison Illustrated is a free publication distributed monthly (8 times a year). Our mission is to help promote North Dakota State University Athletics, provide a quality and fun reading experience and to improve the way of life in our community. The publication is mailed to homes across the US and has newsstand distribution throughout North Dakota and Minnesota.

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BISON ILLUSTRATED september 2022

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2022 Football Preview Meet The Team Looking To Go Back-To-Back The North Dakota State Bison football program shot down hopes around the country that what we saw in the spring COVID season would become the norm by returning to dominance and capturing the 2021 national championship. Only time will tell what's to become of the 2022 Bison. However, on paper, this may be one of the better NDSU teams we have seen during the dynasty with sixth-year and All-American level players dotting the roster. Make no mistake about it, there is plenty to be excited about in Fargo this fall. Let's meet the squad!

Photos by Josiah Kopp 21

*The press conference these quotes are taken from was held on Wednesday, August 10. *Quotes have been edited for conciseness



The Big Picture We have some [players] that are ready to have a great senior year right now and we have some that are just getting ready to make their mark and find their roles on this football team. We have a number of returning people, and anytime you have a contingent of returning starters and players that have played significant time, that probably takes the pressure off of you a little bit as a coach, but we’re still trying to strive and be better and find that next set of names. That’s what has been really important about this fall camp, is finding out who the critical backups are that are going to play a significant amount of time on special times as well as rotations on defense and the plethora of personnel groupings we use on offense. So far, there have been a few names that have elevated themselves.

On the Offense I feel like we have as much depth on the offensive line as we’ve probably had in the last couple of years. I want to say we have nine young men that can help us win ballgames and they’re excited about coming back into it. We’ve got nine of our top 10 coming back. And what I’m really excited about is the improvements I’ve seen with numbers 6, 7, 8 and 9— they are different. Hunter Poncius, Jake Rock and Brandon Westberg continue to get better. The reps that they’ve had over the course of the last year and a half have been critical in their development. Now we are starting to reach some of the benefits of that. Cam Miller has done an outstanding job. We challenged him after spring ball— the thing that he needed to continue to do from the quarterback position was be that leader that we all have grown accustomed to with the quarterback position in NDSU. And he’s done exactly that. He was drinking out of a firehose his first two seasons here. He got thrown into the mix right away and did an excellent job helping us win a national championship in 2021. He now has taken the next step in his leadership role as far as being able to have those

constructive conversations with his teammates, and getting everyone on the same page. He’s a great communicator in the huddle, a great communicator in meetings. … It’s critical to have that leadership and quarterback room. We’ve got a ton of depth at running back right now. We need to get a couple of guys completely healed up. Jalen Bussey is back from an injury that he had a year ago. Hunter Luepke kind of fulfills a dual role for us as a tight end/fullback/ running back. But we really feel excited about Barika Kpeenu, a young man from West Fargo that’s really starting to show us why he had offers from power five schools late in the process. Kobe Johnson, I think, is the strongest version of himself that he has been here in the two, three years that he’s been here. Owen Johnson got moved over from wide receiver to running back and is doing an excellent job. We still have to get TaMerik Williams healthy. TK Marshall is doing an outstanding job. There are bodies there that can help us win especially when you’re a line of scrimmage-oriented football team like we are. At the wide receiver position, there are about six names that jumped out to me: Braylon Henderson, DJ Hart, RaJa Nelson [and Jake Lippe who] is back from a low back injury and has now started to kind of show himself getting back into that role that he was in kind of post-spring before he had this big injury that set him back. Phoenix Sproles is practicing every day and being a great leader on and off the football field, doing the things that we all expect him to do being involved in our offense. Tyler Terhark and Giancarlo Volpentesta are both doing a really good job of finding a role: is it playing in 22 personnel? Is it cracking safeties? Is it making the tough catch across the middle? We may not have that marquee name at that position but we feel like any of these young men can help us continue to be successful at the wide receiver position. At tight end, Noah Gindorff is currently out of practice right now and will be brought back in later in the fall camp. With him being out and opening

up some reps, it has expedited the learning curve for guys like Joe Stoffel, Finn Diggins, Jacob Streit and Carson Williams, who is a transfer from the University of Buffalo and has a brother that plays for us on the defensive side of the ball. And then you have Hunter Brozio and Logan Hofstedt who kind of assume that dual role of off-the-ball ‘U’ fullback and on-the-ball tight end. It’s great when guys can have multiple roles because it creates greater depth for our football team.

On the Defense On the defensive side, there are some new names and some new faces along the defensive line. The Mostaert brothers are right where they need to be. Both are productive and both are playing football for us. I’ve told you guys before, sometimes some of the most heated arguments in practice are the Mostaert brothers going at one another. Spencer Waege is kind of on a rep count right now but doing a great job and is participating in all of the indy and multiple team sessions. When you talk about a 6’ 5’’, 280 lb kid, he has worked extremely hard to put himself in as good a shape as possible. Jake Kava, Dylan Hendricks, Tony Pierce: expect a lot of big things out of Tony this year. He’s a veteran player who has played a lot of football games. He needs to continue to do a better job of finishing at football. Loshiaka Roques put on 10 pounds. He’s a much stronger, much more physical presence, especially at the six technique lined up over a tight end. Javier Derritt and Jaxon Duttenhefer are two young men that are going to have to help us maintain control of the line of scrimmage, those A’s and B gaps. Javier, many of you may remember late last year’s playoff run, he gave us a ton of valuable reps. He made some big plays and forced some throws. Our DBs are as deep as maybe we’ve ever been. When you talk about the number of corners, we have four or five corners that can play for us. And when I say play, they could win us ballgames. And then you have two returning


matt entz six-year starting safeties [Michael Tutsie and Dawson Weber], both allconference caliber kids, probably both All-American type kids. And behind them you have Dom Jones, Ryan Jones, Reggie King, Ty Satter. Dom Jones has played a lot of football for us over the course of the last couple of years. To have him in that role is extremely valuable. It gives us some flexibilities in packages, especially as we get started to sub in and we start seeing some nickel situations, and when we start to do some unique things in maybe third down or passing situations. Linebacker is probably the most unique position we have right now. It’s probably the most wide-open spot. I would be uncomfortable, today, naming a starter at the mike linebacker position. Luke Weerts and Nick Kubitz have done a great job to this point, but I just don’t feel like one of them has separated themselves from either. I think competition is going to breed both of them having to play their best football at NDSU in the next couple of weeks. James Kaczor is back healthy. You’re seeing some explosiveness and things that we’ve missed over the last year or so with him going back and forth with his injury. Julian Wlodarczyk getting moved to the sam position has been a positive move for our defense, for our defensive staff and also for Julian in the linebacker room. He brings veteran experience. He has played a lot on special teams and in that backup role. He has had a lot of experience in the dome and traveling and I think that’s valuable especially when you look at Oscar Benson and Enock Sibomana being the backups at that spot right now. And then Logan Kopp is a really good football player. He’s a young man out of Lindbergh High School in St. Louis and he just gets it. … When you have those guys, it’s fun to watch. You don’t always count on them, but when you see one of these types of players that just understands the game at a different level, it’s fun to coach them and see how fast you can move the process along. Logan is one of those young men.


BISON ILLUSTRATED september 2022

Q&A Have you been able to identify what the identity of this team is going to be? I think going into it, I’ll have a little bit of an idea of what our identity will be. I think, more importantly, I want to see how we can adjust and expand on that identity. We were extremely efficient in the pass game a year ago. I still want those things. I want to continue to figure out how we can utilize some wide receivers in the run game and how we can utilize multiple bodies on defense. I think we still have a chance to be good at running the football and stopping the run and being really good on special teams, but we’ve got some work to do.

Talking about NIL stuff a little bit, we’ve kind of seen a growth here locally. Some are using their social media following. We’ve seen a lot of mattress commercials with Cam Miller. How have you kind of seen it grow here locally? I think what you’re seeing here locally, in the Fargo-Moorhead area, is probably what the rule was intended to be. These young men are fulfilling an obligation. They’re providing companies A, B and C: with, maybe it’s followers, maybe it’s advertising, maybe it’s commercial, which Cam is now famous in the team room for that commercial. But that’s how I saw the rule originally: you have to provide these companies or these people who want to provide the NIL with something. It was meritbased. You get this, you have to provide something. And unfortunately, and again, I’m speaking for Matt Entz— nobody else, I get the sense that this has become not merit-based, but more incentive-based. At the same time, we have to continue to grow.


We’re an extremely, I think at times, conservative athletic department, which I think is good. We’re not going to make any rash decisions. But it’s not 2018 anymore, it’s 2022. Things have changed. There’s the transfer portal, conference, realignment — I don’t know if we can just sit here and say we’re gonna ignore it. And it’s good because it won’t go away. And my job is to make sure I protect this program and put the best product on the field. If that means we need to expand on NIL in some way, then we probably need to do some research and start looking into that.

Do you get the sense of maturity level on this team yet to handle all of the expectations? I think part of that is we don’t talk too much about expectations except with our senior class. I don’t think we’ve had a conversation in the team room about winning a football game. We talk about getting better every day. I think it starts with our coaches and starts with our support people trying to avoid the buzz a little bit. The buzz is great. The buzz is exciting. It’s what the people in this room want to talk about. But for an 18-year-old man to be thrown into a situation where they have to execute for us, sometimes that’s not the best thing. We talk early in fall camp about how we’re going to worry about every day as the most important thing. As you start looking too far ahead, that’s when anxiety gets critical.

Do you ever hear the word ‘Frisco’ when you’re in fall camp? Never, unless it’s one of our offensive linemen talking about a burger at Hardee’s. No one ever talks about it. They talk about getting better that day.

You and a few others on your staff are the only ones that have experienced an FBS game. How do you approach that with Arizona looming? I know it’s not game one but it’s there on the schedule. As you remember, when we played Iowa, it was game three. You can’t really make any adjustments too much because you have fall camp and then preparations for game one and game two. What you’d like to think, and I think, is that we do an excellent job with the preparation for fall camp, and it allows us to be as competitive as you can be. We put in a lot of offense and defense in fall camp that isn’t necessarily for game one. But the retention is there for our players for when we may bring it back for games three or four or five or six or maybe game 11. But we still have to have a base before we install in season. We really have not had any conversation about it right now. I made a comment to our players that I think what’s exciting is that we have three non-conference games. We have three new opponents we have not played, and none of these players have played. So, that to me, is exciting.

How is Cole Payton settling in and what can we expect from him? I know he got very limited action last year. Cole has done a great job. He continues to learn and refine. He has a quarterback coach in the country in Randy Hedberg. He has a tremendous leader in that room in Cam Miller. So in Cole, I think you see a very comfortable player out there. A guy who can control the huddle. A guy who can make

calls at the line of scrimmage and get us in and out of things and change cadences. That is what’s exciting for me. As far as the game plan, we’ve only scratched the surface right now. It’s too early to say if we’ll go back to last year and have multiple quarterbacks on the field. I think there are a lot of things that go into that decision-making. But it is always nice to feel after six days, and six days only, that we have a young man who is extremely talented at that backup spot.

You said the offensive line is nine deep. Would you ever play nine offensive linemen in a game or would the rotation be shorter than that? I think the offensive line is a little bit unique. For one, there isn’t a position group for our football team that emulates what we want to be about more than they do. I think those five guys will kind of see that as a badge of honor that they get to wear here at NDSU. The “rams” are who we are. I think [there’s an] amount of communication that’s required to be successful on the offensive line, it doesn’t matter if it’s an ace to the mike or backside swap or slip, they are always in conversation and communication. Presnap, and you don’t want [too much communication] or sometimes monkey with that or overthink it. If we have a really good five out there, let’s leave it. Now, the one area you’ve seen us use it is the “ogre package” where we dress up a sixth offensive lineman as a tight end to get an extra offensive lineman out on the field. I think you’ll still continue to see that down the road during the season. I think



Illinois College Defensive Coordinator

Winona State Associate Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers


Wayne State Assistant Head Coach/ Linebackers



Northern Iowa Defensive Line

Wayne State Assistant Head Coach/ Linebackers


Northern Iowa Defensive Line

Wayne State Assistant Head Coach/ Linebackers

Northern Iowa Defensive Coordinator/ Defensive Line

Winona State Associate Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Defensive Line


Western Illinois - Associate Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line

Winona State Associate Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Defensive Line


North Dakota State Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers

Winona State Associate Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Defensive Line

North Dakota State Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers





Winona State Associate Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers


Winona State Associate Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers


Winona State Associate Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers


Winona State Associate Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers





North Dakota State Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers


North Dakota State Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers


North Dakota State Defensive Coordinator/ Linebackers


North Dakota State Head Coach


North Dakota State Head Coach


North Dakota State Head Coach


matt entz there are a few kids that can sprinkle in here and give some guys some rest at different times but I don’t think you’ll see us wholesale change as you might on the defensive line.

The previous school column on your roster is pretty blank, is that a big deal to you? I think it’s a big deal for players in our football team. When we recruit young men, we sit down Mom, Dad, whoever might be in their inner circle, and we talk about a vision, a plan to get your son on the football field at NDSU. Never in that plan do we talk about, “but we might rate, in a transfer from university x, y, z.” We feel like we do a tremendous job, our staff, our strength staff, our nutrition staff and the medical staff of developing football players. I’m not ignoring the transfer portal, we’ve used it slightly and we’re going to continue to use it at a conservative pace. It has to be the right person from the right place at the right time. We felt like we had a pretty good group coming back and there was no need to rock the locker room or the team.

Have you had to turn away people that want to transfer here? You need to talk to Ean [Deno] about the number of emails he gets. And/ or phone calls we get from so and so’s trainer. Seldom do I ever get a phone call from a coach.

Take one position. Quincy is going to Temple. Did you have quarterbacks calling you after that? No, because I think they saw the depth of the room already. Sometimes just seeing that the starter is only a sophomore right now eligibility-wise, kids think this might not be a great situation [to come to earn playing time].

We’re a ways away now from the spring season, but do you think those battle reps for guys like Dom Jones, Cam Miller and Grey Zabel pay off now in the fall of ‘22 I think so. If you look at our depth chart, our board in our office in our staff room, you see a ton of third-year


BISON ILLUSTRATED september 2022

guys, that group, that are all over the depth chart. That sophomore class, eligibility-wise, is about 30 because that group and the class behind them are now all packed into one. You’re seeing the benefits of painstakingly going through the spring and moving people around from position to position, putting people off the grass that maybe have a limited experience or limited call card.

You said you weren’t ready to name a starter at the mike position but competition ramps up over these next few weeks. What’re you looking for to name a starter? Well, communication has to be a critical piece. The mike linebacker and strong safety in our defense are extensions of our coaching staff. They need to be able to process information and get the right information communicated to the rest of the team. We will have some controlled tackling scenarios coming up. So, being able to get people on the grass and making plays, that’s critical. We have a process for daily grading and that process has already started, but it’s too close for us to make a decision right now. And there could be situations where you see both of them in the game. But again, I realize that when you’re 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, being a starter is always a priority.

How many guys do you have lined up for punt returns and kick returns? Punt returns, we’re pretty fortunate that everyone’s back at that position. You have Jayden Price who had some explosive plays. Braylon Henderson had some explosive plays for us. I think there are some young kids too, that if we need them, it’d be good to have them return. We haven’t done any punt returns in the Dome yet. Everything’s been outside right now. When we catch punts in the Dome, that always throws some young guys for a loop because they’re just looking up into a black ceiling trying to find a ball. It’s just a little bit different returning punts in there. I think the kick return specialist [candidates are] DJ Hart, RaJa Nelson and Kobe Johnson, who, in 2019, had a 99-yard kickoff return

against Youngstown. We have some people back there that are going to do a tremendous job and our coaches do an outstanding job of putting together great schemes that fit our personnel.

Have you named a starting kicker? We are still having a competition between Griffin Crosa and Will Cardinal. Kaedin Steindorf is our punter.

How has competition in camp been so far? Has it stayed healthy? It’s been really good. Sometimes the competition swells and there’s an incident at practice that we have to get broken up and then we get back to the huddles and go again. There are 22 starters on offense and defense and 44 on special teams. That’s the carrot, that’s the nugget that we throw out there. And we routinely talk about guys like Chris Board, who’s probably going to be a starting linebacker for the Detroit Lions this year. He was a special teams player here. To me, that’s where he made his mark. Jaxon Brown was a player who didn’t play a ton of reps for us defensively but was a special teams All-American for us. And there’s Nick DeLuca, who is working for us now as a strength and conditioning guy, was a special teams guy as a first-year player with us.

How important are those player-toplayer relationships, especially at a position like safety where Dawson and Michael have been together for so long? I think those two have a brotherly relationship. They came in together. They were both knuckleheads together early in their careers. Probably any gray hair I have were due to Dawson and Tut. Both are super smart football players. One is from Indianapolis and one is from California. You kind of meet in the middle and Bison football is the thing that brings you together. But they’re awesome. They’re awesome families. It’s going to be fun to see those guys play together because they’re each other’s biggest fans.

Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks 28


Q&A 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

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?

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.

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


Did you know? 32

In 2021, the NDSU defense ranked 1st in the FCS in scoring defense (11.13 ppg), 3rd in yards per game allowed (264.7 ypg), 6th in rushing defense (87.6 ypg) and 11th in passing defense (177.1 ypg).


Q&A Who should the fans be watching out for this season? Who do you see really stepping forward? I think Spencer Waege and Tony Pierce are two guys that have an opportunity to be really dynamic for us. James Kaczor at the Will Linebacker position is a really established player that has played a ton for us. He is coming off an injury in the spring but he played really well for us last year. I don’t know if there’s a better linebacker in the country right now. I really feel like James has an opportunity to be an impact player every single week for us. Then, there are so many guys in our back half right now that we are really excited about. Destin Talbert has really started to step up on a consistent basis and has the ability to play multiple positions for us. He can play the corner position but he will also be playing some nickel for us.

And I’m sure you have to love having a physical corner like that. Absolutely and he’s such a student of the game. He always comes with so many questions. My role on defense right now has allowed me to almost kind of take that nickel position as my position group and do some extra pre-practice work with those guys. Between Talbert and Dom Jones and Michael Tutsie, these guys are just talking football on a totally different level.

With so many sixth-year guys on the roster, do you feel like you’re able to be more advanced this fall with your install? Obviously, you have to start from ground zero with the young guys, but how is all of that working out? There’s so much balance there. You need to get the young guys up to speed. You need to retouch on the fundamentals of

just the structure of the defense. But you also want to challenge the older guys. One way we’ve done that is by giving them opportunities to coach the young guys. Another way we’re doing that is by taking say a Michael Tutsie and putting him in Outside Linebacker install so he can see things from a different perspective.

Is that something you have done before or is that something you’re just starting to do now? I think any defensive coordinator would hope to have that opportunity. However, I think it’s a reflection of how intelligent our guys are, how football motivated they are and how selfless they are. They’re willing to play different spots. To answer your question directly, I haven’t had that chance to do that other places. It’s just the group of guys that we have. It’s the coaching staff that we have. The coaches we have on both sides of the ball just do an amazing job.

There are obviously some big shoes to fill at the Linebacker spot with Jackson Hankey leaving. What have you seen from that group? I’ve seen a lot of really good competition. There are days that Nick Kubitz shows up and can’t be blocked—he’s just flying around. I’ve seen both Kubitz and [Luke] Weerts really start to take command of the defense. That was Jackson’s greatest strength, commanding and getting everyone on the same page. Both guys have stepped up in that role. I think Nick is a space player and a blitzer. I think Luke is a run-fitter and an instinctual player. There may be a stretch where we use a committee of sorts and play to people’s strengths. Either way, I’ve seen dramatic growth over both players and I think that’s what competition does.

DAVID BRAUN’S RESUME 2008-2009: Winona State - Graduate Assistant


Culver-Stockton - Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers


Winona State - CoDefensive Coordinator/ Linebackers


UC Davis - Defensive Line


Northern Iowa - Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Line


Northern Iowa - Special Teams Coordinator/Outside Linebackers


North Dakota State Defensive Coordinator/ Safeties

Is there anything else you would like to say that we haven’t touched on? One thing I’d like to share with your readers is how much this program appreciates this fan base and this community. I’ve been fortunate and my family has been very fortunate to have the opportunity to mentor these young men at North Dakota State. I know a lot of coaches around the country that are envious of the position we are in.


Did you know?


In 2021, the Bison offense finished 2nd in the nation in rushing offense (280.6 ypg), 19th in total offense (431.5 ypg) and 14th in scoring offense (34.1 ppg)



Q&A Who are some players you see stepping forward this year? Kobe Johnson and Dominic Gonnella are playing as good of football I’ve seen them play in their careers. Jalen Bussey is doing an unbelievable job. But the player that’s really coming into their own is TK Marshall he’s consistent, he’s reliable and he’s doing exactly what we’re asking him to do. Receiver-wise, Tyler Terhark and Giancarlo Volpentesta have done a really nice job—no only in the passing game, but also in the run game. DJ Hart had a couple of big plays last year and we’ll continue to find ways to utilize him within the offense. From an offensive line standpoint, Grey Zabel and Mason Miller are doing a really nice job and Brandon Westberg, who started games for us last year, has only continued to progress. Tight End-wise, besides Hunter [Luepke] and Noah [Gindorff], Hunter Brozio is doing a lot for us and so is Logan Hofstedt. Finn Diggins, Jacob Streit and Carson Williams are all tight ends that are continuing to try to provide value for the offense. Quarterback-wise, Cole Payton is pushing but Cam Miller is doing an unbelievable job running the offense. I’m excited for a lot of these young guys to continue to work their tails off and find out what they can do to try to provide value to the offense.


One thing I thought that was interesting when I was doing my interview with Coach Randy Hedberg was that he said it almost makes it easier for you to call plays once you get to a point where you can trust quarterback to make a proper decision. How has Cam’s maturity and experience allowed you to do that? He’s a football junkie. He’s a guy who leans heavily on his preparation for the game. Hope is not our strategy, meaning he’s not going to leave up to hope. He doesn’t hope he knows what his read is on a given concept and he doesn’t hope that he can identify a coverage. He’s extremely diligent in preparing the way he needs to prepare to help on offense. Everything from the neck up, he’s done an unbelievable job in just processing what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Then there’s his god-given ability and physical tools. He’s great from a quarterback run game standpoint and he throws the ball really well. He’s accurate. He’s on time. He’s in rhythm. He’s decisive. I think those things are extremely important.

A lot has been made about the departures of Christian Watson and Josh Babicz. How does them leaving change things for the offense? Not a lot. I’m really excited for that. We always have a next-man-up mentality and we have a bunch of young kids working their tails off to put themselves in their shoes. Whether it’s the tight ends getting all of those reps in spring ball with Josh gone and being able to

Concordia College Running Backs 2011: North Dakota State - Offensive Assistant


Moorhead High School Defensive Coordinator/ Running Backs


North Dakota State - Tight Ends and Fullbacks


North Dakota State Offensive Coordinator/ Tight Ends and Fullbacks

watch Josh on film from the last number of years to be able to attempt to emulate and improve on what Josh has done. Same thing from the Christian Watson standpoint. We want to figure out how to put people in Christian’s position. If we can find ways to do thins the same or better than these guys, that’ll be amazing because they’re both really really good football players.

Is there anything that we haven’t touched on that you would like to say to our readers? This team is working extremely hard to represent the university, the community, the state and the alumni and make them all extremely proud. We appreciate as much support as we can get as we go through this challenging season.


Meet Lewis Walker, Cornerbacks Coach and the newest member of the NDSU staff. 36


LEWIS WALKER’S COACHING RESUME 2015: Columbia (N.Y.) Defensive Assistant


2016: Columbia (N.Y.) Defensive Assistant

2017: Monmouth (N.J) Defensive Backs


What do you think of the program so far? It has been awesome so far. Walking in the door and getting to meet everybody on staff, the players and people around the community, you can see why this place is so special.

You’re coming into a bit of a unique situation, working with a very experienced room as a new face. What has that experience been like? I’m just going to be me. And I’ve told my cornerbacks from day one that there’s no ego. I’m learning just as much from the guys as they’re learning from me. My job is not to come in and change everything. This place has been successful. I’m just trying to elevate things and bring something to help them grow and develop them as people and players and to be a mentor, someone that’s here to support them. I want to help make them better every single day.

Who have you seen make a big jump from the spring to this fall?

is just me looking at past film because I have nothing else to go off of other than that. In the spring, their progression was slower because I was coming in and trying to tweak techniques and it’s hard to break old habits. But from the beginning of spring to the present day, they’ve all made strides. One guy who has really made strides is Destin Talbert. The confidence he got from that playoff run and his catch at JMU has bled over to the spring and he has played at a very high level since then. He has also been able to help coach the younger guys in the room. He has been able to have conversations with me about how can we work on things. Just his competitive nature and his competence, it bleeds off to the other guys—all the way down to the guys that may not have a lot of snaps.

Monmouth (N.J) Defensive Backs

2019: Monmouth (N.J) Defensive Backs

2020: Monmouth (N.J) Defensive Backs

2021: Monmouth (N.J) Defensive Backs

Is there anything else you’d like to say to the readers that maybe we haven’t touched on? Personally, I would just like to say thank you. I’ve received a lot of support already from people in the community.

It sounds like a cliche answer, but I think the whole room has evolved. And this


The Quarterbacks #7 Cam Miller

Junior, Solon, IA Position: QB Height: 6' 1'' Weight: 212 High School: Solon HS

#16 Peter Anderson Redshirt Freshman, Hoffman Estates, IL Position: QB Height: 6' 1'' Weight: 203 High School: Barrington HS


BISON ILLUSTRATED september 2022


ast season's heroics added Cam Miller to the pantheon of national championship winning quarterbacks to walk the halls at North Dakota State. Now, he and the rest of the Bison quarterback room are only looking to get better

Q&A With Cam Miller How does coming into the season feel a little bit different than the past couple of seasons? I feel a lot more confident and comfortable just being around my team. I feel like I've gotten better in the last six or seven months during the offseason. So I'm very confident that I can go out there and win games for us.

In his press conference, Coach Entz talked about you taking on more of a leadership role this offseason. What does leadership look like to you? I think just being more vocal to my teammates and holding people accountable, and doing the right things on and off the field. And just being a servant leader, doing everything for others and not myself. I feel like I've really improved in that aspect.

How do you go about working on those sorts of things? I think it just really hit me this offseason that I only have three more years of eligibility. And I asked myself the question, 'what do I want my legacy to be?' and 'do I want to be the quarterback that ruins the tradition here?' Obviously, the answer is no. I want to leave this [program] in a better place than I found it. So doing everything to uphold that culture and standard that was set before.

This is pretty much a championship or bust program. And you're in probably the most highpressure position that there can be. How do you go about navigating that pressure and those expectations? I don't really look into it. I try not to go on social media too much just because there's a lot of negativity. People want to talk about the negative things and not the positive things. Just knowing who I am as a person, knowing my purpose [helps me navigate]. I'm not defined by how I perform on a Saturday. I'm defined by how I live my life.

#15 Cole Payton

Redshirt Freshman, Omaha, NE Position: QB Height: 6' 3'' Weight: 230 High School: Westside HS

What are some things you do to de-stress away from the game? I feel like my faith and my family are two things in my life that have helped me to not be anxious.

Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers that we haven't touched on? I'm just excited for the opportunity this year to really show what I'm capable of and what our team is capable of. We have a lot of weapons. I almost feel bad for Coach Roehl. He's got a dream job and he's got a tough job because he has to get all these playmakers the ball and I don't know how he's going to do that because we have so many.


The Playmakers #11 Phoenix Sproles Senior, New Hope, MN Position: WR Height: 6’ 0’’ Weight: 188 High School: Robbinsdale Cooper HS

#0 Zach Mathis Senior, Tampa, FL Position: WR Height: 6’ 6’’ Weight: 205 High School: Berkeley Prep HS

#9 DJ Hart

Junior, Atlanta, GA Position: WR Height: 5' 11'' Weight: 188 High School: North Gwinnett HS

#12 Braylon Henderson

Junior, Wylie, TX Position: WR Height: 5’ 9’’ Weight: 205 High School: Plano East HS

#17 RaJa Nelson Junior, Lakeville, MN Position: WR Height: 5' 8'' Weight: 190 High School: Lakeville North HS


BISON ILLUSTRATED september 2022

Q&A WitH Phoenix Sproles Did you ever consider not coming back for another season? I did. Obviously, my eligibility without COVID would have been done anyways. But, ultimately, I knew this is the place where I wanted to be.

What does it mean to be in your final chapter with NDSU? It’s kind of like a complete story. I had the injury and I’ve also played close to 50 games already, which is more than what most normal college football players play. I’m feeling fully healthy again and I’m just excited to be back after a season of playing 15 games in a row. Yeah, just happy to be here. Really excited to be back with my team.

What do you think you improved on most over the offseason? I think just confidence. I think I’ve always been a confident football player. But I

think after the spring, when I had my injury, a lot of confidence went away. Not even just physicality, but mentally as well. I didn’t know if I was going to be the same player again. I didn’t know if I was going to have the same playmaking abilities that I had in 2019. But this past season, I had some really explosive plays and I needed those to show myself I could still do it. I’m just more confident and more sound in my technique.

Is there anything we haven’t touched on that you’d like to say to our readers? A lot of us get asked about the passing game and the receivers not getting footballs. I just want to make something clear that, as receivers, we know our offense. We know we’re not going to get the ball 100 times per game on offense. That’s just not what we do here at NDSU. We know that coming into NDSU and we chose NDSU for a lot of other reasons besides throwing the ball. I get a lot of messages on social media asking if

I wished I got the ball more. Of course, what receiver doesn’t want that. But that’s just not what we do. That’s not how our offense works. We know that and that’s why we are so good at what we do. Our mission is to dominate the run game and be efficient in the passing game. We know that and we’re perfectly okay with that. If Coach Roehl wants to run the ball every single play of the game, we’re going to block all game. That’s what we do here. That’s why we’re so successful. So, I just want to make that people do stop asking me that. I know my job as a receiver. My job is not to ask for plays. It’s to make plays when I’m called upon.


The Deepest Backfield in the Country


BISON ILLUSTRATED september 2022

Q&A With TaMerik Williams What was it like coming into this program as a transfer?


#22 TaMerik Williams Senior, Angelton, TX Position: RB Height: 6' 1'' Weight: 229 High School: Angelton HS


#29 Dominic Gonnella Junior, Riverview, FL Position: RB Height: 5' 11'' Weight: 211 High School: Bloomingdale HS (TOP RIGHT)

#28 TK Marshall

Junior, Minneapolis, MN Position: RB Height: 5' 11'' Weight: 204 High School: Southwest HS (BOTTOM LEFT)

#4 Kobe Johnson Senior, Lawrenceville, GA Position: RB Height: 5' 9'' Weight: 188 High School: Discovery HS (BOTTOM RIGHT)

#21 Jalen Bussey Junior, Brandon, FL Position: RB Height: 5’ 5’’ Weight: 160 High School: Tampa Catholic HS

For me, it definitely was an adjustment. Just having to get used to the culture and finding the role that I would fit into was an adjustment.

You spent the early part of last season waiting in the wings before really getting your opportunity. What was that experience like? Really it came down to getting familiar with the offense. I was familiar with what we were doing, but I didn’t really have a grasp on everything just yet. But as the season went on, my position coach did a great job of helping me adjust to the offense. He helped me pick up the terminology and everything else. Once I was able to get comfortable, you could see the difference on Saturdays. I was running completely different, running more comfortably and ultimately being the best version of myself to help the team win games.

So how have things felt different with all of that under your belt? It has been really fun just going through the summer grind and leading up to this point. I feel more ready than I ever have.

What do you like about Fargo? Everything is flat. Everything is close. When I moved up here, I honestly expected to see a lot of hills. When I didn’t, I was really surprised. Another thing I love about Fargo in general is the people. The people here show so much love towards the football team. That’s something that’s really special. That’s what makes this place special.

The Rams (LEFT)

#73 Mason Miller Junior, Ada, MN Position: OT Height: 6' 6'' Weight: 296 High School: Ada-Borup HS (SECOND FROM LEFT)

#66 Nash Jensen Senior, Maple Grove, MN Position: OG Height: 6' 4'' Weight: 329 High School: Osseo HS (THIRD FROM LEFT)

#70 Cody Mauch Senior, Hankinson, MN Position: OT Height: 6' 6'' Weight: 303 High School: Hankinson HS


BISON ILLUSTRATED september 2022


#74 Grey Zabel Junior, Pierre, SD Position: OG Height: 6’ 6’’ Weight: 290 High School: T.F. Riggs HS (SECOND FROM RIGHT)

#72 Jalen Sundell Senior, Maryville, MO Position: C Height: 6’ 5’’ Weight: 294 High School: Maryville HS (TTHIRD FROM RIGHT)

#70 Jake kubas

Senior, Dickinson, ND Position: OL Height: 6’ 4’’ Weight: 304 High School: Trinity HS


The Crew Chiefs #44 Hunter Luepke Senior, Spencer, WIS Position: FB Height: 6’ 1’’ Weight: 236 High School: Spencer HS

#87 Noah Gindorff Senior, Crosby, MN Position: TE Height: 6’ 6’’ Weight: 268 High School: Crosby-Ironton HS

#49 Hunter Brozio Junior, Lakeland, FL Position: FB Height: 6’ 1’ Weight: 230 High School: Lake Gibson HS


BISON ILLUSTRATED september 2022

#82 Joe Stoffel

Junior, River Falls, WS Position: TE Height: 6’ 3’’ Weight: 245 High School: River Falls HS


he North Dakota State Fullbacks and Tight Ends group pictured here have a combined 146 games played at North Dakota State with marquee names Hunter Luepke and Noah Gindorff manning a room that is set to be a very important piece of the Bison’s plans for the season.

Q&A With Noah Gindorff How are things feeling after last season ended with an injury? Things are feeling good. I’m definitely healthy and ready to go. A lot of the summer was spent just getting back to 100%.

we’ll have to wait to see September 3, if that’s the case, but I mean, I’m feeling really good at this point. So, I definitely think my best football is still ahead of me.

What are some of those new habits you’ve picked up on?

It’s been talked about and, in my mind, you were probably on a path to the NFL after last season. What was that experience like, mentally, having that injury at the point that you did?

I’ve started tracking my sleep and making sure I’m drinking a ton of water. Just little things that sometimes get taken for granted. I was just really trying to do anything that could help my recovery and I’m not going to abandon those habits either now that I’m back healthy.

That was definitely tough. Having this extra year to fall back on was really key because if I didn’t have this all back, I think it’d be a really tough reality setting in... I’m definitely not going to take this extra year for granted.

While you were injured, you worked as a student assistant with the coaching staff during spring ball. What was that experience like?

It seems like some people, when they go through a major rehabilitation process, come back better in some ways because they’re working on all those little muscles that maybe have been neglected in the past. Have you experienced anything similar?

It was really valuable just to be able to step back and kind of look at a different position and see why they’re playing the technique that they are and stuff like that, or just be able to see the defensive call and see how they’re playing it and see, okay, in this defense, the quarterback should go here.

I’ve never had a major injury like this before. Through this, I’ve learned more about just taking care of your body and stuff like that. I hope that’s the case and that I can come back and be playing better than ever. I guess

It was also great to be able to help out these young tight ends and continue to show them good technique and how to practice the right way and how to play hard.

#33 Logan Hofstedt Junior, Cannon Falls, MN Position: FB Height: 6’ 1’ Weight: 237 High School: Cannon Falls HS

The First Line of Defense


BISON ILLUSTRATED september 2022



#58 Javier Derritt

#53 Eli Mostaert

Junior, Warrensburg, MO Position: DT Height: 6’ 1’’ Weight: 279 High School: St. Thomas Aquinas HS

Junior, Lakeville, MN Position: DT Height: 6’ 3’’ Weight: 280 High School: Lakeville North HS



#90 Tony Pierce

#54 Jake Kava

Senior, Lake Alfred, FL Position: DE Height: 6’ 1’’ Weight: 242 High School: Auburndale HS

Senior, Moorhead, MN Position: DE Height: 6’ 1’’ Weight: 243 High School: Shanley HS



Senior, South Shore, SD Position: DE Height: 6’ 5’’ Weight: 285 High School: Watertown HS

Junior, Lakeville, MN Position: DT Height: 6’ 2’’ Weight: 260 High School: Lakeville North HS

#99 Spencer Waege

#91 Will Mostaert

The Headhunters (TOP LEFT)

#36 Nick Kubitz Junior, Dubuque, IA Position: LB Height: 6' 2'' Weight: 222 High School: Dubuque HS (BOTTOM LEFT)

#43 Logan Kopp Redshirt Freshman, St. Louis, MO Position: LB Height: 6’ 1’’ Weight: 218 High School: Lindbergh HS


BISON ILLUSTRATED september 2022


#26 James Kaczor Senior, St. Cloud, MN Position: LB Height: 6’ 0’’ Weight: 215 High School: St. Cloud Tech HS (TOP RIGHT)

#47 Luke Weerts Redshirt Junior, Batavia, ILL Position: LB Height: 6’ 0’’ Weight: 215 High School: Batavia HS (BOTTOM MIDDLE)

#42 Oscar Benson Sophomore, Hillsboro, ND Position: LB Height: 6’ 1’’ Weight: 215 High School: Hillsboro HS (BOTTOM RIGHT)

#31 Cole Wisniewski Junior, Sparta, WI Position: LB Height: 6’ 4’’ Weight: 225 High School: Sparta HS


The Shutdown Secondary


BISON ILLUSTRATED september 2022


#10 Dom Jones

Junior, Duluth, GA Position: S Height: 6' 3'' Weight: 197 High School: Peachtree Ridge HS (SECOND TO TOP LEFT)

#25 Michael Tutsie

Senior, Indianapolis, IN Position: S Height: 5' 11'' Weight: 189 High School: Warren Central HS

Q&A With Michael Tutsie How has fatherhood changed things for you? It has changed everything. It has really changed my perspective on life a lot. I’ve really dove into my faith because I want to be the best father I can be for her. And to be able to bring her around all of my teammates and coaches and stuff has been a blessing.

Coming into your final season, what are some emotions you’re experiencing?


#2 Dawson Weber

Senior, Elk Grove, CA Position: S Height: 6’ 2’’ Weight: 190 High School: Pleasant Grove HS (TOP RIGHT)

#3 Marques Sigle Sophomore, Omaha, NE Position: CB Height: 5' 11'' Weight: 192 High School: Omaha North HS (BOTTOM LEFT)

#23 Jayden Price Senior, Derby, KS Position: CB Height: 6’ 0’’ Weight: 184 High School: Mulvane HS (BOTTOM MIDDLE)

#1 Courtney Eubanks Junior, St. Petersburg, FL Position: CB Height: 5’ 10’’ Weight: 187 High School: Admiral Farragut Academy (BOTTOM RIGHT)

#6 Destin Talbert Senior, Darien, IL Position: CB Height: 6’ 0’’ Weight: 187 High School: Hinsdale South HS

Just a lot of gratitude and a lot of excitement honestly. It’s probably the most excited I’ve been for football season just because it’s my last one and it’s also one that I wasn’t supposed to get to begin with.

The secondary had an amazing season last year but you guys are still continuing to try and develop and get better. How have you seen the group change this offseason? Just the depth. Those second and third-year guys who are vets now have really helped us develop some depth. We have a lot of guys that have played a lot, but we also have a lot of younger guys that are developing. We just have a really full group of guys that we can trust to go out there.

Who are some of the younger guys that have taken off? I would say Ryan Jones and Sam Jung are two young strong safeties that have really stood out for me.



Q&A With Women's Volleyball Head Coach Jennifer Lopez


Who are some of the players we should watch out for this year on the team?

What can you tell our readers about the freshman class?

I would say we have a lot of experience between Syra [Tanchin] and Ali [Hinze], being on the outside and being able to do a lot more skill-wise being six-rotation players. You're going to see a lot more production from our middles and we're still figuring out who those are going to be, but within that mix are Allison Scheiwiller, Michelle Glover and Alexis Boling. We're kind of figuring out which strengths we need each of those kids in. Honestly, right now, we're still figuring out which positions we need to fill in between our libero and our setters as well. It's making practice competitive.

They're really attentive to detail. They're coming in with pretty good volleyball backgrounds and they're really adding to the mix that we already do have. They've done a really good job so far at creating more depth within their positions. They're learning really quickly. They're paying attention. They're having to play at a very high level immediately as we're starting preseason. Each one of them have learned through trial and error what their roles are going to be as well as how they're going to progress.


Do you see them (Baily Randall, Nora Raasch and Ally Barth) competing for playing time right away? I do. The depth that we do have is going to create some really good things for us. It's going to allow us to compete at a really high level, but it's also going to give our kids if we ever do need a break, a break. It'll allow us to have that next man up and be able to fill some roles really well.

What are your expectations for the team coming into the season? To compete. We have a lot of returners. We really have a lot of kids that have played, that have experience. It's now about really putting it together and then playing at a really high level.

2022 August 19

What can you tell us about your transfers? We added two. We added Logan O'brien a transfer from North Florida and Eke Denessen from South Florida. They're two kids that have fit in extremely well and we're excited to create depth, but they're adding a lot even in this short amount of time. They're picking up our systems extremely well.

Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers? I think this is going to be a really fun year. I think we put in a ton of work this offseason and our mindset changed in a really positive direction that the players wanted to take it to buy into this process. I truly feel that they have laid the groundwork for what is to come in a really good way.

Volleyball Schedule


Jackson State

August 26

southeast missouri State

arkansas pine-bluff

August 27

September 2

Fargo, Nd - 4PM

Cape Girardeau, MO - 10AM

Cape Girardeau, MO - 7PM

Cape Girardeau, MO - 11AM

Lafayette, LA - 9AM

September 2

september 3


chicago state

central michigan

northern arizona

Lafayette, la - 4PM

lafayette, la - 9am

fargo, nd - 10am

fargo, nd - 7pm

Fargo, nd - 10am

september 16

september 16


austin peay clarksville, tn - 12pm

september 27

August 26

september 9

Fargo, Nd - 7pm

Ocotber 15

east tennessee state

september 17

september 22

st. thomas

western illinois

clarksville, tn - 4pm

clarksville, tn - 11am

st. paul, mn - 7pm

macomb, il - 11am

october 1

omaha, ne - 3pm

september 24

oral roberts

kansas city

north dakota

october 8

october 13

fargo, nd - 7pm

fargo, nd - 10am

Fargo, nd - 7pm

denver, co - 7pm

october 20

october 22

st. thomas

kansas city

oral roberts

fargo, nd - 7pm

fargo, nd - 1pm

kansas city, mo - 7pm

tulsa, ok - 1pm

western illinois


september 10

ut martin

september 29

south dakota

september 9


october 27


october 29

november 1

november 5

november 10

november 12

november 17

november 19

south dakota state

north dakota



south dakota

south dakota state

fargo, nd - 7pm

grand forks, nd - 4pm

fargo, nd - 7pm

fargo, nd - 1pm

vermillion, sd - tba

brookings, sd - 1pm


BISON ILLUSTRATED september 2022

Photo by Geneva Nodland



With Head Women's Soccer Coach

Mike Regan


e sat down and spoke with Women's Head Soccer Coach Mike Regan, who is returning over 77 percent of his scoring production from last season.

Who should we be looking out for this year? Who do you expect the standout players on the squad to be? We've got a lot of players. I'm curious to see how we we do this year. We've worked extremely hard since January on and off the field in terms of how we want this program to look and feel. Going back to the personnel, I think we've got three very strong goalkeepers with different levels of experience. We've got the 25-person roster and 20 returners. There's a lot good leadership. I'm really excited to get our two captains, Paige Goaley and Dani Stuber, back. Their leadership is great. Payton Jo Armijo, Kelsey Kallio, Elana Webber, Lavin Douglass, I could go on and on— there are a lot of returning players that we're excited about and a lot of players that have got some good experience under their belt now.

You said that over the offseason you've been working really hard off the field and on the field about developing the program. I have to imagine there are some new things that you're trying out and working on. On the field, we put in a new system and a new formation. That gave us a great opportunity to break everything down and work on how we want everything to look. Whenever you can do that with so many returning players and you get to this time of the year, it's just about reviewing and sharpening and moving on. That's been exciting. Also in the offseason, we had a foreign tour. We went to England over spring break. That was such a great experience that we're very blessed to have. It allowed us to bond as a team and take care of each other in another country. We played games over there as well. It was just a fantastic, you know, time.


Culturally I feel very good about where we're at. I feel like we have 25 young ladies, heading down the same lane which is important. It has been a great offseason. The girls worked really hard in the summer to come back ready. What were some of the highlights from that foreign trip for you and the girls? We were there for a week and everything from the experience of being together as a group in another country to playing different opponents to going to professional games to sightseeing and having families with this there as well. It's the first one I've done as a coach anywhere and it just it brought a smile to me now just because of everything we did and how cool it was. I think this will end up being a big thing for us culturally and moving forward. Can you tell our readers about this year's freshman class? We've got four freshman and one transfer, Madalyn Grate who's a Minnesota kid that transferred from Memphis. So we've got five newcomers. Unfortunately one of the kids, Izzy Smith, has picked up a knee injury and we will not see her this fall. Another one of the recruits is Payton Mulberry who's a goalkeeper and a very talented kid out of Colorado. Then there's Devon Kavanagh who is going to be a nice player for us out of Vancouver, Canada. Then we have Cadence Kline out of Colorado as well. It's been a smaller class than what we've had in the past but based on our numbers returning, we didn't need big numbers moving forward. Payton is a talented goalkeeper and she's definitely going to push to play this season. Cadence has had a very good preseason so far. She's a very coachable kid and is very committed. Devon is more


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of an attacking player that will offer us something a little bit different. Every freshman takes some time just to come into it, but we've been pleased with what we've seen so far. How are you hoping the team grows coming off of last season? What are you looking at? I'd be the first to tell anyone that last fall was very disappointing for everyone and very disappointing in a lot of ways, not just the number of wins on the field, but just the manner in which we lost games and so forth. As one of the leaders of the program, it was important to,flip things and when we feel like culturally we've done that. Time will tell where that leaves us on the field with results. But I just feel good about the group I have and I feel excited about the progress we've made and how we are evolving. That's all we can ask for and hopefully that hard work and resiliency will help us win games and put us in positions to compete. Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers? We really appreciate Bison Nation's support. I think as a nonrevenue sport, I definitely feel and appreciate everything that goes into being a bison fan. We're working hard to put a product on the field that they can be proud of. Come out and watch us play. The games are free. We appreciate the pride and everything that Bison Nation does to support us.

Photo by Geneva Nodland

With Men's Head Golf Coach

Steve Kennedy By Brady Drake

Last season, the North Dakota State Men's Golf Team came up just shy of glory, finishing second at the conference championships. However, there were still a number of very high highs for the squad with returning senior Nate Deziel winning the individual conference championship by five strokes. We sat down with Head Coach Steve Kennedy to learn more about what is coming in the year ahead. 68


Q Who should fans watch out for this year? A

That's a really hard question. We have nine guys on our team and they are nine very even players. If we're looking at upperclassmen, Nate Deziel, Nate Adams and Brock Winter have all played on the conference team the last three years. So, I'm expecting big things from them. But our younger guys have had a great summer again... Right now, we have the luxury of having all nine guys battling for those five spots and they keep pushing each other.

Q What can you tell our readers about the one new golfer you have this year, Jake Skarperud from Fargo? A

He's a kid that's going to come in and compete right away. He has a great pedigree. His family is a golfing family. He had a lot of success in high school and the local tournaments around here and at the state tournament level. So I expect Jake to come in and be one of those young guys battling for a spot.






Q With Tom Hoge's recent success, a lot gets made about how he grew up here, in a northern state, where he didn't have the opportunity to play in the offseason. How do you prepare your athletes to compete in this type of environment?




That's one of the reasons that I recruit in the upper Midwest. All of our kids know how to put their clubs away for a while and then come out and compete right away. There's really not a lot that we have to do to get them ready to compete in that spring season because that's how they normally do it. Unlike someone that's from Arizona, that's used to playing year-round. They really struggle with putting their clubs away for a couple of months and then having to go out and start over again. Our guys are used to it. They kind of enjoy the fact that we don't get to play year-round and they have that little chip on their shoulder to show everybody else that we can still win up here, even if we're not outside playing.

Q Who When you hear people talk about the transition from high school to college in football, you hear a lot about how much the speed of the game changes. What is the biggest adjustment you have to help these recruits get ready for when they come on campus? A

One of the things that we really focus on is that we go to different courses every year, just about. So, they're playing new tracks and they really have to study the course a lot before they get there. As far as our guys, they make a huge jump from their freshman to sophomore year in length because of our weight program. Our trainers do a fantastic job. They come in as skinny little kids. And after a year or so here, they look like athletes. They're built. They've gotten a lot stronger and they hit the ball longer. That's something you have to do in the game today. You have to hit the ball a ways to compete at the level that we do.



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With woMen's Head Golf Coach

Matt Johnson

Last season, the North Dakota State Women's Golf Team finished fifth at the conference championship. However, this team has a strong veteran presence and is ready to take a step forward.

Photo by Geneva Nodland


Who do you see being a standout performer this season? Do you see anyone taking a significant step?


That's an interesting question because last year, we were the most balanced team we've ever had. I mean, Leah Skaar was one that was probably a little above the rest. And she's had a really good summer. But we had six players that had a stroke average within about one shot of each other. So, it's the most balanced group we've ever had. For example, I think our number two player by stroke average for the season never led us in a tournament all year. I think that balance will still be one of the things that will really help us this year because we have that depth. I think Leah will certainly have another strong year. I think Maddie Herzog, who's coming back for her fifth COVID year here, has always been a steady player for us, but she's worked really hard this summer and she's had a really good summer.


What can you tell us about your new incoming golfers for the year?


They're very capable. We have Madi Hicks. She finished third or fourth in the Minnesota State Tournament and she just won the Minnesota State Junior Championship a couple of weeks ago. She has just played exceptionally the last few months. The other one is Cora Larson. She is from Alexandria. She is kind of right there Madi's coattails so to speak. Madi was first at the Junior Championship and Cora was sixth. I think they can both come in and have an impact and they're both just going to add to our depth.


It seems like there are always technological advancements being made in the world of golf training. Have you embraced any new training methods this offseason?


I'm not really looking to do anything that different from what we've done in the past. We kind of already have all the tools we need. like our track man system, everybody uses it. I think some kind of take to that way of training 71

more than others do. I'm sure they're into the numbers and actually digging into the data of what you're doing versus just being out there and focusing on how the golf ball is flying and then transferring that back. So there are the learners that just kind of do it the natural way out there, by feel and then there are people that really get into these numbers. Everyone's kind of a little bit different. We have some players that will spend tons of time here. Some do it the old fashioned way. Our job as coaches is to figure out how they learn best and how how they want to learn. Sometimes you can kind of help them by introducing them to new things, certainly. But sometimes that isn't always the way to go about it either. It's really it's like coaching on the golf course. You have to learn what each player likes. Some want you to help them read putts. Others want you to just walk down the fairway with them and help them pick clubs. Everyone kind of takes to coaching a little bit differently. It's the same thing with training. We try to introduce them to a bunch of different things and then kind of figure out how they learn best.


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Your team continues to win awards for their academic success. How do you go about fostering an environment for that? There isn't a lot I have to do. High-level athletes, especially those in Division I, for the most part, are very disciplined, very committed. They're pretty good students. I rarely recruit a player who's got the skills necessary for golf that isn't also an outstanding student. I think it just kind of all goes together. You have to be committed and focused and dedicated and you have to manage your time well. I look at academics for sure but it's usually not a concern with the players we're recruiting. And once they get here, they kind of just handle that themselves. They come in and they know that the expectations are high, both on and off the course and they just do a great job. What do you think allows you to be a Division I golf coach? I didn't play Division I and I always think because I wasn't quite at their level when I was a player I'm more familiar with when they're struggling with something. I think I understand the mental parts as well. I've been through all the mental struggles of golf both as a student-athlete and then afterwards in my life playing. I understand mentally when they're struggling with something. I think I'm equipped to help them with that.


Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers?


I'm really excited for this year. It's a unique team. We have a fifth-year senior but we have no actual seniors. All of our players are going to be freshmen, sophomores or juniors. So you could say we're a young team, but we're also a really experienced team. And I think our freshmen will be in the mix. I think we're ready to have a really good year. I'm always excited for the season, but this year, I think I just kind of have that little bit of extra excitement about potentially what we could do this year because we do have a lot of depth. If we can get everyone in a good spot at the same time, I think we will be very capable.


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The Official Watch Site Program he NDSU Team Makers Official Watch Site program was created to engage a variety of establishments and hospitality locations in our community and across the country that recognize the economic impact Bison Athletics has on our community. It was also instituted to support the significant number of alumni, fans and friends across the country that gather to watch the Bison compete in their respective sports. This program gives everyone with an affinity for NDSU an opportunity to be part of the team and continue promoting Bison Athletics nationwide. As a Team Makers Watch Site we are committed to providing the below door prize package and benefits: 2022 NDSU Team Makers Official Watch Site Door Prize Packages and benefits: • 1 Team Makers Flag per game + 1 for host + 1 for establishment • 1 Team Makers Long Sleeve Shirt per game • 1 Team Makers Aluminum Pint Glass per game • 2 Can Koozies per game • Recognized as an official watch site on our website • Opportunity to request single game tickets • Opportunity to request season tickets • Quarterly Bison Illustrated magazine • Opportunity to join our discount program • Window/door decals • Creates account with Priority Point totals • Preferred event viewing sites Expectations as an Team Makers Official Watch Site: • Hang a Team Makers flag outside of your establishment



• Give away door prizes during each regular season Bison football game We have also instituted a voluntary 10% discount program for our retail members in order to drive supporters to each establishment that joins Team Makers. We encourage you to become part of Bison Nation by joining the Team Makers Hospitality Group today! For more information on becoming an NDSU Team Makers Official Watch Site please contact Team Makers Executive Director, Derrick Lang at or 701-231-9555.


BY JOSHUA A. SWANSON *Swanson is a native of Maddock, N.D., a proud NDSU alum and a lifelong Bison fan.

What’s next? North Dakota State has won nine of the last eleven national championships. This fall, the Herd begin the season as the consensus No. 1 team in the country and are favorites to return to Frisco this January for a shot at their tenth FCS title, all coming since 2011. With James Madison bolting to FBS—joining former FCS stalwarts like Georgia Southern and Appalachian State—there are in reality only a handful of teams even capable of challenging the Herd year-in and year-out. To borrow shorthand from the political world, the Bison are FINOs, that is, FCS-in-nameonly. How many FCS programs have three players on the Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list. Or, how many schools in the league formerly known as I-AA are annually sending players taken in the NFL Draft. The only FCS school you’re going to see appearing on the yearly Top 20 lists of best places to tailgate



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in college football is the Fargodome, conveniently located literally across the street from Hector International Airport.

considerably one dimensional with the former upper echelon of the league bolting for the greener pastures—and TV money—of the FBS.

Finally, as if you needed any more convincing, the Nodak Insurance Football Performance Complex towering stories above north Fargo is the sort of practice facility and football complex you find at Power 5 programs. No joke. That isn’t hyperbole. The new home of NDSU Football rivals anything you’ll find in the Big Ten or Big 12. It’s NDSU and the rest of field lagging far, far behind. Even South Dakota State. The next closest thing left to NDSU in the subdivision has never played in Frisco in a normal season. Maybe with all the other FCS powers leaving the subdivision, the Jackrabbits actually have a shot this year. For the record, I’m picking NDSU vs. SDSU in north Dallas to play for the Dakota Marker and national championship trophy. Best get used to that. Montana, often mentioned as one of the premier schools in the FCS, has not played in a title game since 2009. While 24 teams make the FCS playoffs, the Road to Frisco has grown

Mark Twain allegedly once said, “History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.” While not apples-to-apples, the state of affairs in the FCS has considerable parallels to the demise of Division II in the early to mid-1990s. The Bison have far much more in common with their FBS brethren than they do with the rest of the FCS. That’s not a knock on the FCS. It’s the very real world we live in. In the 1986 Division II national championship game, the Herd trounced the University of South Dakota 27–7 at Braly Municipal Stadium in Florence, Alabama. Following the game, in a bit of Nostradamus-like foreshadowing, USD head coach Dave Triplett said what’s on the minds of most FCS coaches nowadays. “I wish to hell they would get out of Division II,” said Triplett, when asked about the Herd. “They can go wherever they want.” Like Twain said, history may not repeat itself, but it surely does rhyme. NDSU is stuck behind a rock and a harder rock. It’s great winning

Photos provided by NDSU Athletics

championships, absolutely. The Bison have built an absolutely nationally recognized juggernaut, and it’s only getting stronger. As for the fan base? The idea of destination games at US Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis, the teased game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., home of the Tennessee Titans, and the annual pilgrimage to Frisco are what we’re left holding onto. The idea of playing the USDs, Drakes, and Youngstown State’s of the world just aren’t that appealing. To their credit, NDSU is pulling out all the proverbial stops to try to re-engage an increasingly disengaged fan base at the Fargodome. Even with beer at games, giving away TVs or other promotional items, and jazzing up the graphics and

video displays, it won’t change the team standing on the opposing sideline. Missouri State is not UNLV. Indiana State and Illinois State are not Boise State or Fresno State, or even Wyoming. You want to get the Dome rocking ala circa 2013? You want Bison tickets to become the hottest items between Minneapolis and Seattle like a decade ago? You want the stands not to empty at halftime to fill places like Herd & Horns or Chubs. The answer is staring us all right in the face. Get a weekly foe from the Mountain West to town.

for the green and gold, champagne corks would be popping in not just Fargo, but in places like Brookings, South Dakota and Missoula, Montana at the news of the Bison joining Georgia Southern and James Madison in the FBS. Until then, save my seat at Herd & Horns for the second half, fellas, because four score games at halftime are, to borrow another Twain quote, like eating the frog. Everybody up for the kickoff, the march is on!

The administration at NDSU knows this. If the call came tomorrow from Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson and they were rolling out the red carpet 79