ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Bison football team adjusts spring practices times for academic schedules

FARGO -- Every practice will start like an Army commercial and the North Dakota State players will have weekends off for spring football. Like anything else in the game, the Bison are evolving with the way they handle this time of the season.The ...

North Dakota State head football coach Chris Klieman speaks about how the Bison are progressing before the upcoming season gets underway during a media day at the Fargodome on Wednesday, August 5, 2015 in Fargo, N.D.Nick Wagner / The Forum
North Dakota State head football coach Chris Klieman speaks during a media day on Aug. 5 at the Fargodome. (FNS Photo by Nick Wagner)

FARGO - Every practice will start like an Army commercial and the North Dakota State players will have weekends off for spring football. Like anything else in the game, the Bison are evolving with the way they handle this time of the season.
The first of 15 practices began Tuesday, early in the morning, with the first player meeting at 5:45 a.m. Central Time. By 7:30 a.m., with the sun barely up, it will be all-out football at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome like the late afternoon practices that used to be held.
The reason? Too many players have classes that last too late into the afternoon.
“They have classes all the way up until 5, and then you have evening classes,” said head coach Chris Klieman. “We had to go to something else and see how it works.”
The Bison are also going to a different format: no Saturday practices with the exception of one weekend when NDSU hosts a coaching clinic. Klieman got the concept from Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney when he visited the Tigers’ program last spring.
“I asked the coaches, why do guys go Thursday-Friday?” Klieman asked. “Coach Swinney looked right at me and said, ‘You don’t spend enough Saturdays up here?’”
Klieman talked with other coaches and came to the following conclusion: extend practice another week, but put more effort into Monday through Friday.
“And then give the guys off Saturday and Sunday, get them away from football,” he said.
The other benefit: NDSU has assistant coaches with young children and it gives them a chance to watch their activities on a weekend.
“So it’s something we’re going to try and we think we’ll like it,” Klieman said.
Speaking of NDSU’s assistants, the Bison begin their third straight spring football with the same coaching staff, something that was unheard of for most of its Division I existence. Klieman said it’s something “unheard of in FCS football.”
“Every one of those guys owns a house,” he said. “When you’re renting, it’s easy to pick up and go. When you own a house, it’s a little tougher. Obviously the success has helped but the more success we have the more people come calling, too. It’s a unique, special work environment here.”
Four players will sit out spring workouts, three with shoulder injuries - senior offensive guard Zack Johnson, senior running back Chase Morlock and sophomore receiver Darrius Shepherd. Sophomore linebacker Levi Jordheim is out with a knee injury.
All are expected to be ready to go by fall practice with Morlock perhaps getting more added to his already versatile plate: a few reps at tight end.
“Not an every down tight end,” Klieman said. “He can play some slot receiver, some fullback, some tailback. We really liked how the three-back system evolved last year, and I think we can do more things with that.”

Related Topics: COLLEGE FOOTBALL
What To Read Next
Dickinson’s gritty play earns kudos, but no cigar, as five-on-three opportunity garners no glory
Members Only
With the WDA tournament on the horizon, Dickinson thrashed St. Mary's in a 42-25 season ending dual. 
Members Only
A string of late goals for Dickinson boys hockey team would be the decider, but wouldn't cease the North Stars 'never say die' effort till the final buzzer.
Magicians secure victory with a three pin contest at an intense dual in Dickinson.