WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 01, 2012, 10:50 AM

Craig Bohl Pre-Season Sitdown Part 1

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The Bison football players check in tomorrow, now needing to put the magical 2011 season behind them and prepare for the grind of fall camp.

By: Dom Izzo, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The Bison football players check in tomorrow, now needing to put the magical 2011 season behind them and prepare for the grind of fall camp.

Part 1 of Dom Izzo’s sitdown with head coach Craig Bohl, begins with the same question he asked to start 2011: If you don't win the title this year, is the season a disappointment?

Craig Bohl – 75-31 Record in 9 Seasons: “You know what, every year you have a high mark that is set. Certainly the stars aligned correctly last year, Dom and we had a phenomenal football team at the end of the year. It's really, really difficult to repeat. Our number one goal is our conference. We lost at home to a 6-5 football team in our conference and we got beat, so our players and our coaches recognize that we have got to get through the Valley first.”

Dom: “How do you deal with the expectations of being the defending champs, knowing that that is going to come every single game?”

Craig Bohl: “I think that the biggest thing that I was able to do, Dom, is draw on some experiences that I had when I was an assistant coach at Nebraska. We understand that week in and week out now, that we are going in and there is going to be a big, big target on our back, but we are going to turn that into a positive and recognize that expectations are high. We have a high expectation for ourselves and we need to be really consistent with our effort.”

Dom: “What was the biggest lesson that you learned from last year? And how do you apply it towards this coming year?”

Craig Bohl: “I think that the biggest thing was how many different players are going to play at different times. You know, we had fourth and fifth defensive lineman that where playing in the Georgia Southern game as meaningful reps. So, what that means to us, we thought we knew it last year, but we really know it now Dom is that we got to develop depth throughout our football team. Now you can pencil in who your starters are going to be, but the odds are that those eleven guys and the kickers on both sides the football are not going to be the guy that is playing at the tail end of the year. So you better prepare those other guys.”

Dom: “The hunger to win does that come from the players or the coaches? And how hard is that to maintain that hunger?”

Craig Bohl: “I think we have guys who are very competitive; Christian Dudzick, Colten Heagle, Sam Ojiri, or Brock Jensen or the ultimate competitor like Ryan Smith. These guys, it doesn't matter if they are playing tiddly-winks - they all want to win.”

Dom: “Knowing the anticipation level was as high as it probably has ever been, I think it's even exceeded that. Do you sense that and do the players sense that?”

Craig Bohl: “I sense it as a coach. There has been an out pour of interest across our state and region and even nationally in the places that I have gone. People are going to ratchet it up this year. You saw the reaction of Youngstown State after they beat us. So we know we are going to get everybody's best shot and we need to be prepared for that.”

Tomorrow night, the key players and positions Bohl is watching at fall camp. Also, sources tell us NDSU has received a verbal commitment from Tyler Wrice out of Papillion, Nebraska.