Schueller’s patience pays off at NDSU
FARGO — Adam Schueller is a sports management major with minors in business and patience. The first two have to do with his academics at North Dakota State.
The last one pertains to his football career.
The fifth-year senior from Fergus Falls, Minn., will finally attain a goal that was set when he signed with the Bison in February of 2010: reaching the starting lineup.
He will take the first snap at left guard when the Bison travel to Iowa State for the season opener Saturday.
“It’s not the path I originally thought it was going to be,” Schueller said, “but I’m really looking forward to it. I’m anxious to get out there and play some ball.”
Schueller has primarily been a special teams player with the most prominent role being a blocker in NDSU’s punt game. It’s a badge of honor, really, being one of the three “shield” blockers for punter Ben LeCompte.
It’s a bigger honor to have his first start come at 54,800-seat Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.
“Just being able to be in the mix was fun,” Schueller said, “but I always wanted to be one of those guys that was always counted on. To have a shot to do that now … I’m very grateful to have that chance.”
The 6-foot-3, 304-pound Schueller was part of a Fergus Falls team that in 2008 had one of the better offensive lines in the state of Minnesota. High school teammate Josh Campion is a starting offensive tackle for the University of Minnesota.
They led the Otters to a 10-1 record and a state playoff berth.
“He was more or less a brother to me back in the day,” Schueller said.
Schueller has dabbled at most spots along the Bison offensive line including backup center, where it appeared he would end up this fall. That changed.
“I think he realized this is his last shot and last time,” said NDSU head coach Chris Klieman. “He came in to fall camp in tremendous shape and was committed to wanting to be a big part of our offense.”
Schueller admitted he worked harder in this off season, saying he told his parents as much before team conditioning started. He said he wanted to be a good example to the freshmen on the kind of work ethic it takes to play in the program.
“They’re looking for a leader, they’re looking for some guidance and to be someone for a younger guy to look up to was a big thing I planned on doing,” Schueller said.
As a result, he is no longer one of those depth guys. He played in 17 games on the offensive line his first three seasons on a team that played a total of 45 in that span.
“You can’t argue winning three national championships, we played with a lot of good guys,” he said. “There are years where you have to realize you have a certain role to play.”
He figures the most snaps he’s taken on the offensive line in any one game was probably between 20 and 25. And most of those came toward the end of a game when the outcome was already decided.
NDSU had a few of those games last year when the backups saw a lot of playing time in the fourth quarter.
“I’ll be playing a lot of snaps and it’s going to be different,” he said.